Illustration of a bird perched on a scale of justice

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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List three things that are perplexing Scout at the beginning of summer, in chapter 12.

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One problem Scout faces at the beginning of summer is the maturation of Jem. She finds his moodiness problematic and asks Atticus, "reckon he’s got a tapeworm?" Most importantly, Scout has difficulty with her brother telling her what to do. Scout typically relies on her fists to solve problems. Her solution regarding Jem's "alien set of values" is that someone bigger than him needs to beat him up.

Another problem for Scout is that Dill is not around. Dill sends her a letter stating that he will remain in Meridian for the summer. Since Dill has been a large part of Scout's summer activities, she has difficulty with his absence. She recalls being "miserable for two days."

Finally, Scout must deal with Atticus being away for two weeks. The state legislature is in session, and Atticus is doing his part. The children see a newspaper cartoon showing Atticus chained to his desk while being tempted by girls. Jem, with his "maddening air of wisdom," explains to Scout that the cartoon is actually a compliment to Atticus because he works to make things better for people.

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Jem is growing apart from Scout, and she has trouble with that.  He's maturing and he's beginning to feel superior to her and he tries to tell her what to do.

"Jem had acqired an alien set of values and was tyring to impose them on me: several times he went so far as to tell me what to do."

The second thing that bothered her was that Dill couldn't come for the summer.

"The fact that I had a permanent fiance was little compensation for his absence."

The third thing was that Atticus had to leave them for 2 weeks.  He was pulled away from them to the state legislature because of the hard times (Depression).  So she was left with no Dill, an alienated brother, and her father was gone, too.  It must've been rough for her since Scout is such a tomboy and is used to the company of men, not women.

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