In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, what ends the knothole gifts?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, the children have been finding mysterious gifts left in the hole in the tree near the Radley's property. It puzzles and perhaps frightens them a little at first. (Jem gets worried when Scout eats a piece of gum left there, thinking it might be poisoned.) Then they think it might be someone's hiding place. Leaving a ball of grey string in the hole for a couple of days find it umoved: so Jem doesn't think it's a hiding place. From then on, the kids believe that whatever is left there is their property.

They find some more gum (an entire pack), two well-carved (or so says Jem) figures of them—made from soap—and even a broken watch and chain. The tree is something they look forward to checking each day coming home from school.

The kids decide to leave a note for the mysterious "gift giver," but when they approach the tree, they see the whole has been filled with cement. Jem soothes Scout, telling her not to cry. When they see Mr. Radley and ask about the tree, he says that the tree was dying. The children ask Atticus about the tree's health and he says it looks fine, but hearing Mr. Radley explanation, he decides that Mr. Radley knows best about the health of his trees, and the discussion is dropped.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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