What occurs in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee that causes Jem and Scout get the day off?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is set in Alabama, so the weather never really gets particularly wintery. In chapter seven, Scout tells us that 

There are no clearly defined seasons in South Alabama; summer drifts into autumn, and autumn is sometimes never followed by winter, but turns to a days-old spring that melts into summer again.

In chapter eight, though, something exciting happens: winter actually comes to Maycomb County, Alabama.

One morning Scout wakes up, and when she looks out of the window, she "nearly died of fright." It is snowing, and neither Jem nor Scout has even seen snow before. While Scout is sure that the world is coming to an end, Jem is older and at least knows what snow is. Atticus, as always, is not rattled by the appearance of snow or by his daughter's dramatic reaction to it.

Soon the Finches get a telephone call from the operator who announces that, since it has not snowed in Maycomb County since 1885, there will be no school today. 

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