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LESSONS LEARNED IN TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Chapter 7. Scout begins the chapter by trying "to climb into Jem's skin and walk around in it." She determines that if she had joined her brother on his late night run to retrieve his pants from the Radley fence, "my funeral would have been held the next afternoon." Second grade for Scout is "as bad as the first." Jem reveals that his missing pants had been mysteriously mended, and the children silently realize that only Boo could have fixed them. The gifts in the knothole continue to appear, and Jem and Scout eliminate all possibilities of their origins except for Boo. But Jem learns the hardest lesson of all: When he one day finds the knothole cemented, he asks Nathan Radley why he has done it. Nathan tells Jem the tree is diseased, but Atticus points out that the oak is perfectly healthy. It is a valuable lesson in both adult deceit and outright meanness.
Chapter 8. When Mrs. Radley dies, the children are disappointed to find that she has died of natural causes and not at the hands of Boo. Scout experiences her first snow, and she learns that it's both "hot" to the taste and "so cold it burns" to the touch. The kids also learn that, according to Mr. Avery, it's their fault for the unseasonable weather; and that a snowman doesn't have to be all-white. They witness the power of fire, the heroicism of some of their neighbors, and the unpreparedness of the town's fire trucks. Most importantly, Jem and Scout learn once and for all that their unseen neighbor, Boo Radley, is a kind and thoughtful man when Scout finds his blanket draped across her shoulders.
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