What new plan do the boys devise to get Boo to come out in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 5, Scout recalls waking up to find Jem and Dill coming up with a plan to get Boo to leave his house. Jem explains to Scout that they are simply going to put a note at the end of a fishing pole and stick it through one of the loose shudders of the Radley house. He also mentions that if anyone comes along, Dill is going to ring a dinner-bell as a warning for Jem to stop. Scout reluctantly agrees to be a lookout at the back of the lot while Dill watches the front of the Radley home from up the street. When Scout asks Dill what the letter says, Dill tells her,

"We’re askin‘ him real politely to come out sometimes, and tell us what he does in there—we said we wouldn’t hurt him and we’d buy him an ice cream." (Lee, 48)

As Jem is attempting to get the letter off of the fishing pole and onto the window sill, Scout abandons her post, hears Dill ringing the bell, and turns around to find Atticus staring directly at Jem. Atticus then takes the letter from Jem, reads it, and tells him to stop tormenting Boo. Atticus proceeds to chastise the children for their behavior and demands that they leave Boo Radley alone. 

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem and Dill, who have been spending a great deal of time together without Scout, come up with a new idea to get Boo to come outside.

In Chapter Five, the two boys decide to leave a note on Boo's porch, inviting him to come out. (They try to deliver it with a fishing pole.) Dill is on the lookout in the front (with a bell to sound the alarm if anyone comes) and Scout is to watch the back—if she wants to be a part of the "project." Atticus does show up, catching them trying to pass the note. When he asks them why they are doing so, they explain that perhaps Boo would want to spend some time with them. (They have no way of knowing how true this is.)

Atticus is displeased that they are "harassing" Boo, and instructs the three children in no uncertain terms that they are to leave Boo alone, and stop any "games" related to the Radley family. Boo, he says, is entitled to his privacy.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The mysterious gifts found in the secret knothole of the old oak tree had aroused the kids' curiosity to a near breaking point, so Jem decided to take drastic measures in order to lure Boo out into the open. They decided against Dill's suggestion that they knock on Boo's door and invite him for ice cream. Instead, Jem decided he would try using a fishing pole. The children had seen a loose shutter on the Radley house, and Jem figured he would be able to attach a note to the end of the fishing pole and stick it through the shutter. But before Jem could get the note inside, Atticus caught them in the act. He told them in no uncertain terms to "stop tormenting that man."

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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