Why does Atticus start to get angry at the children after the fire in To Kill a Mockingbird?  Chapter 8

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several emotions that happen the night of the fire, however, I do not think any of them could be described as "anger," especially not from Atticus.

One unusual occurrence is that at the end of the evening, Scout mysteriously has a blanket laid over her shoulders.  Atticus has a moment of confusion as he tries to figure out how it got there.  He decides Boo Radley must have done it.  There is a moment where fear flickers across Scout's face and Jem seizes the opportunity to be a big brother and play into that fear.

At this, Atticus says, "Don't let this inspire you to further glory, Jeremy."  Likely, this is the closest Atticus comes to anger that night.  But even this line isn't said out of anger.  I imagine Atticus speaks in that very clear, authoritative voice that parents use when they want to speak the message, "This subject is over and do not even think about carrying it on further."  He uses Jem's full name, for one thing, and he is successful in ending the subject.  Both the children knew that Atticus meant business with that line.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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