What does Jem tell Scout about "the Night" at Boo Radley's?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Following the advice of her father to "walk around" in Jem's skin, Scout refrains from pestering him as usual. By her not having bothered him, Jem feels more kindly toward Scout; so, one afternoon as they walk home together, Jem says,

There's something I didn't tell you....about that night....When I went back for my breeches--they were all in a tangle when I was getting out of 'em, I couldn't get 'em loose.  When I went back, they were folded across the fence...like they were expectin' me.

Jem adds that the pants were mended, as well, but not neatly--"All crooked. It's almost like--"  Jem shudders, thinking that Boo must have known he would return.  As the siblings pass the tree with the knot-hole, they notice that there is grey twine inside the hole. 

This chapter continues the superstition motif of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird."  Jem shudders as he thinks that the mysterious Boo Radley may have read his mind and known that he planned upon returning for his pants.  Yet, the bravery of the children emerges, as well.  For, when Mr. Radley has filled the knothole with cement, Jem courageously asks him his reason for his action. But, once night falls Jem remains outside and weeps for Mr. Radley's cruel action against Boo as he maturely is sympathetic now, rather than superstitous.


englishteacher72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem loses his pants the night he tries to sneak towards the Radley home, but what he doesn't tell Scout is that when he goes back to retrieve his pants, they aren't in the place where he lost them.  They were, in fact, hanging on the fence waiting for him.  And not only were they waiting for him, but they had also been sewn and mended.  Jem said that he could tell a woman didn't mend his pants because the part that was sewn was crooked and sloppy.  He tells Scout that he felt as though someone knew he would come back, like they were reading his mind.  This episode spooks the children out even more about Boo Radley, and they are convinced that he is some sort of evil monster who is constantly watching their every action.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The night at Boo Radley's was the night when Jem's pants got stuck on the fence because the three kids snuck in to get a better look at Boo.

What Jem failed to immediately reveal was how he found his pants: folded and sewn. But there was something a bit startling about how they had been sewn, it was like a kid did it. So, this left Jem to believe (although he didn't state it) and the reading audience to believe that maybe Boo himself did it... or at least someone who knew Jem would be back for those pants.

zumba96 | Student

Jem got his pants stuck in a fence and when he could right away think of a reason why his pants got stuck, he had to go back at night. Then he saw the pant folded nicely and the sewing was almost like a kid did it. Jem thought that maybe Boo in fact was the reader and someone knew Jem would come back for those pants. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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