Why does Atticus wake up the children in the middle of the night? Be specific.

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 8, Atticus wakes Scout and Jem up in the middle of the night and tells them to put on their coats. Initially, Scout is confused and asks Atticus if it is morning. Atticus replies by telling her that it is a little after one and that she needs to hurry. Scout finally realizes that something is wrong and when she gets outside, Scout sees that Maudie's house is on fire. Atticus then tells the children to stand in the Radley's yard and see which way the wind is blowing. Before heading to the Radley's yard, Jem asks his father if he thinks they should start moving the furniture out of their home. Atticus assures him that it isn't time to worry yet and tells Jem to take care of Scout. As the children are standing in the yard, Scout remembers that she has one of Dill's books in the house. Jem responds by telling her that "it ain't time to worry yet." The reason Atticus wakes the children up is because he fears that the fire could possibly spread to their home. As a precaution, he makes sure his children are out of their home and standing at a safe distance down the road. 

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After a day of playing in the snow and building a "morphodite snowman," Scout is awakened by Atticus on the coldest night of the year. Jem is already awake and standing "groggy and tousled" alongside his father. It's shortly after 1 a.m. Scout does not have to ask Atticus what the problem is.

Just as the birds know where to go when it rains, I knew when there was trouble in our street. Soft taffeta-like sounds and muffled scurrying sounds filled me with helpless dread.

The street is full of people, and when the children get to their porch, they "saw fire spewing from Miss Maudie's diningroom windows." Their favorite neighbor's house had caught fire--probably from a faulty flue--and her friends were trying to save what they could from inside the house. Althought some of the furniture and other items were salvaged,

    "It's gone, ain't it?" moaned Jem.
    "I expect so," said Atticus.


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To Kill a Mockingbird

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