What one place in Maycomb becomes the focal point of the children's summer activity in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the summer the Finches' neighborhood is the little world of Jem, Scout, and their new friend Dill; there the focal point of mystery, make-believe, and adventure is the Radley house, where a "haint" dwells.

Significantly, Dill has been reading from one of the series of The Grey Ghost, an adventure series of the 1920's and 1930's in which an innocent character is accused of a crime. In Chapter 1, he bets his copy of The Grey Ghost against two "Tom Swifts" that Jem will not approach the gate to the Radley's house. When Jem declines the challenge, Dill continues to assault Jem's bravery until one day when he derogates the citizens of Maycomb as being more afraid in comparison with those of his hometown, Meridian, Mississippi, Jem finally moves toward the gate. However, his fears overcome him again, so he rationalizes to Dill that harm may easily come to all of them. Finally, after Dill lessens the challenge to just touching the house, Jem rushes through the gate, slaps the side of the house, and races back to the others. Scout remarks,

The old house was the same, droopy and sick, but as we stared down the street, we thought we saw an inside shutter move. Flick. A tiny, almost invisible movement, and the house was still.

Thus begins the adventures of the summer until Atticus puts an end to them when he discovers how they are infringing upon the Radley's privacy.

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