What explanation does Jem give for his missing pants in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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As was mentioned in the previous post, Jem lies to Atticus by saying that he lost his pants in a game of strip poker. Earlier in Chapter 6, the children sneak into Boo Radley's yard and attempt to look at him through his window. Unfortunately, Nathan Radley hears them and comes outside with a shotgun. Nathan does not realize that Jem, Scout, and Dill are the individuals trespassing and shoots into the air as the children flee. During their escape, Jem's pants get caught in the fence, and he is forced to leave them behind. The children then walk down to meet the group of neighbors gathered outside of Nathan's home discussing what just happened. When Atticus notices that Jem is not wearing any pants, Dill lies and says that he won them from Jem in a game of strip poker. Jem corroborates Dill's story and tells his father that they were betting with matches. 

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price7781's profile pic

price7781 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Jem lies and says that Dill won his pants in a strip poker game.  He knows that Atticus would be mad if he knew that he was sneaking into the Radley yard in hopes of getting a glimpse of Boo.  The children are fascinated with Boo Radley and the superstitions that surround him.  Even after being told to stay away from the Radley place, the children are just too curious to let it go.  It's a scary episode because when Jem sees a shadow, he runs, and while trying to crawl under a fence, he gets his pants hooked on a wire.  In desperation, he takes off his pants and leaves them behind.  Jem vows to go back for them, and when he does, the rip is stitched closed and his pants are waiting for him on the fence.  The whole episode adds to the mystery of Boo Radley, and it leaves the reader wondering who repaired the pants and if we can honestly believe the gossip that swirls around the Radleys.