In "To Kill a Mockingbird" when Jem takes Scout to school the first day, what "order" does he give her?

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mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

These are the exact instructions that Jem gives to Scout at the beginning of chapter two:

"during school hours I was not to bother him, I was not to approach him with requests to enact a chapter of Tarzan and the Ant Men, to embarrass him with references to his private life, or tag along behind him at recess and noon.  I was to stick with the first grade and he would stick with the fifth.  In short, I was to leave him alone."

These instructions seem pretty typical of an older sibling who doesn't want his younger sibling to embarrass him to death at school; school is a cruel place where kids make fun of each other for any little thing.  Scout, with her unusual bluntness, tactless curiosity, and close relationship to Jem-who was quite a bit older, was primed to go in there and do something that was sure to get Jem made fun of.  Sure enough, at recess, she is about to lay into Walter Cunningham when Jem has to intervene.  So, Jem's instructions were born from a desire to keep his dignitiy in tact at school, and a good understanding of Scout's personality.

wowteacher1's profile pic

wowteacher1 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

she is not to make a fool of herself, not to embarrass herself, or her family. She is to watch her mouth...what she says

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