In "To Kill a Mockingbird", what happened to Jem's pants and why?

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 6, the children decide to go on a nighttime raid into the Radley's yard in hopes of sneaking a peek at the mysterious Boo Radley. Their plan is interrupted when Nathen Radley hears them and comes outside to see who is sneaking around in his yard. Nathan ends up shooting his gun into the air and scaring the children. During their escape, Jem's pants get caught in the Radley fence, and he is forced to leave them behind. Later that night, Jem decides that he has to go back to retrieve his pants because he fears that he will let his father down if Atticus finds out he was the one sneaking around in the Radley's yard. Strangely, when Jem arrives back at the Radley yard, his pants are mended and folded across the top of the fence. The next chapter, Jem explains to Scout that his pants were neatly folded as if someone was expecting him to come back for them. The children ponder about who would have been responsible for this but do not conclude that Boo Radley had anything to do with it.

engtchr5's profile pic

engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Jem loses his pants as he is fleeing from the scene of the Radley House late at night with Scout and Dill. He leaves the pants, which got snagged on the bottom of the property fence, only to find them neatly folded and left for him on the fencepost the next day.

The children had gone to the house out of morbid curiosity, trying to sneak a peek at Boo Radley, or further investigate the enigma of the Radleys themselves. When they are heard, Nathan Radley fires a shot in the air over the kids, suspecting that they are prowlers.