What grade did Jem say was where learning began in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem tells Scout that "it (is) not until one reache(s) the sixth grade that one learn(s) anything of value" (Chapter 7).

Scout, who is in the second grade when Jem tells her this, is having a horrible time at school.  She is extremely intelligent, and has "been readin' ever since she was born", but was viewed as being impertinent by her first grade teacher, who had been taught a very narrow view of how children learn.  Miss Caroline tolerated no deviation from what she believed should be the norm in child behavior, and treated Scout's precociousness as if it were willful misbehavior (Chapter 1).  As she begins a new year, Scout finds that second grade looks to be "grim" as well (Chapter 7).

Jem assures Scout that "the older (she gets) the better school would be".  He recalls starting off the same way, but now that he is in the sixth grade, he finds challenge in the content he is learning.  As Scout notices, "the sixth grade seem(s) to please him from the beginning"; and he is especially intrigued by his current exploration of the Egyptian Period at school (Chapter 7).

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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