What makes one a Mennonite according to Jem in Chapter 16?

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In chapter 16, the children watch as a wagonloads full of families arrive into town to witness the Tom Robinson trial. As the child stand outside and watch the citizens from the southern part of Maycomb County arrive in a steady stream, Jem comments on a group of Mennonites. Jem then demonstrates his knowledge by informing Dill that Mennonites don't have any buttons and live deep in the woods. Jem also mentions that the Mennonites do most of their trading across the river and rarely come into the town of Maycomb. According to Scout, Dill was interested in Jem's explanation and Jem proceeded to tell him that all the Mennonites have blue eyes and are prohibited from shaving after marriage. Jem does not know that exact reason why Mennonite men do not shave their beards and simply tells DIll that the Mennonite women like to be tickled by their husbands' beards.

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In Chapter 16 of To Kill a Mockingbird Jem and Dill Harris are hanging out on a street in Maycomb.  There, they see a wagonload of ladies being driven by a man.  Jem explains to Dill that these people are Mennonites.  He says that you can tell this in a few ways.

  • He says that they are Mennonites because they do not have buttons.
  • He says that all of them have blue eyes
  • He says that the men are required to wear beards, at least after they're married.

Jem also explains that the Mennonites all live deep in the woods and don't usually come to Maycomb.

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