What does it mean to Jem that Atticus never whipped him?The book is "To Kill a Mockingbird."

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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"Atticus ain't ever whipped me as long as I can remember. I wanta keep it that way." So says Jem to Scout on the night in which he lost his pants in Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird." Disobeying Atticus's directive to stay away from the Radley house, Jem, Scout and Dill decide to try and get a look at Boo one night, but a moving shadow and a blast from Nathan Radley's shotgun sends them back home in a hurry. But Jem leaves one item behind--his pants--and later that night he decides to go back and get them before they are returned to Atticus, and his lie about losing them playing strip poker is exposed.

Scout warns her brother that a licking from Atticus is better than being shot at, but Jem wants to keep his slate clean.

It seemed Atticus threatened us every other day. "You mean he's never caught you at anything."
"Maybe so, but--I just wanta keep it that way, Scout. We shouldn'a done that tonight, Scout."

Jem is growing more mature each day, and he knows right from wrong. He has become too old to spank, and he does not want to force Atticus's hand now. So he decides to risk the wrath of Radley and find his pants. Jem retrieves them, but not in the way he expected.

 

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