To Kill A Mockingbird: Chapter Analysis

1945 Words 8 Pages
Jem stayed moody and silent for a week. As Atticus had once advised me to do, I tried to climb into Jem’s skin and walk around in it: if I had gone alone to the Radley Place at two in the morning, my funeral would have been held the next afternoon. So I left Jem alone and tried not to bother him.
School started. The second grade was as bad as the first, only worse—they still flashed cards at you and wouldn’t let you read or write. Miss Caroline’s progress next door could be estimated by the frequency of laughter; however, the usual crew had flunked the first grade again, and were helpful in keeping order. The only thing good about the second grade was that this year I had to stay as late as Jem, and we usually walked home together at three
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He changed it again. “Oh, nothin‘.”
“Here, let’s write a letter.” I pushed a tablet and pencil under his nose. “Okay. Dear Mister...”
“How do you know it’s a man? I bet it’s Miss Maudie—been bettin‘ that for a long time.”
“Ar-r, Miss Maudie can’t chew gum—” Jem broke into a grin. “You know, she can talk real pretty sometimes. One time I asked her to have a chew and she said no thanks, that—chewing gum cleaved to her palate and rendered her speechless,” said Jem carefully. “Doesn’t that sound nice?”
“Yeah, she can say nice things sometimes. She wouldn’t have a watch and chain anyway.”
“Dear sir,” said Jem. “We appreciate the—no, we appreciate everything which you have put into the tree for us. Yours very truly, Jeremy Atticus Finch.”
“He won’t know who you are if you sign it like that, Jem.”
Jem erased his name and wrote, “Jem Finch.” I signed, “Jean Louise Finch (Scout),” beneath it. Jem put the note in an envelope.
Next morning on the way to school he ran ahead of me and stopped at the tree. Jem was facing me when he looked up, and I saw him go stark white.
“Scout!”
I ran to
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You plug ‘em with cement when they’re sick. You ought to know that, Jem.”
Jem said nothing more about it until late afternoon. When we passed our tree he gave it a meditative pat on its cement, and remained deep in thought. He seemed to be working himself into a bad humor, so I kept my distance.
As usual, we met Atticus coming home from work that evening. When we were at our steps Jem said, “Atticus, look down yonder at that tree, please sir.”
“What tree, son?”
“The one on the corner of the Radley lot comin‘ from school.”
“Yes?”
“Is that tree dyin‘?”
“Why no, son, I don’t think so. Look at the leaves, they’re all green and full, no brown patches anywhere—”
“It ain’t even sick?”
“That tree’s as healthy as you are, Jem. Why?”
“Mr. Nathan Radley said it was dyin‘.”
“Well maybe it is. I’m sure Mr. Radley knows more about his trees than we do.”
Atticus left us on the porch. Jem leaned on a pillar, rubbing his shoulders against it.
“Do you itch, Jem?” I asked as politely as I could. He did not answer. “Come on in, Jem,” I said.
“After while.”
He stood there until nightfall, and I waited for him. When we went in the house I saw he had been crying; his face was dirty in the right places, but I thought it odd that I had not heard

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