Why does Jem say that Boo mustn't be at home? And what is so ironic about this?chapter 28

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troutmiller | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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By now, Jem and Scout know that Boo "means no harm."  But because of the specific night and the darkness, they need for him to be "gone." In the second paragraph of the chapter Jem says, "Bet nobody bothers them tonight" as he nods at the Radley house.  Then Scout replies, "It is a scary place though, ain't it? Boo doesn't mean anybody any harm, but I'm right glad you're along."

From the very beginning of this chapter, the theme of superstition is evident.  They begin talking of how dark it is because there is no moon.  The cloud cover makes the strangely warm evening even darker.  On top of that, it's Halloween and the children are walking alone to and from the school.  All of these events are then supported by Cecil who jumps out to scare them on such a "spooky" night.  So when Jem says that Boo must not be at home, it because that's what he wants to think.  Harper Lee is setting up the reader for the upcoming climax of the story.

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