To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Contributed by Sharon Fleming
Chapter 7
Summary

As school restarts, Scout is worried about Jem's quietness since that incident at the Radley's. He reveals that when he returned for his pants, he found them stitched and hanged on the fence as if someone expected him to return for them. As they walk past the old tree at the edge of the Radley property, they notice a ball of twine tucked in the knothole. Jem is convinced that someone is leaving the things for them, so they take whatever they find from then on. As they hoped to leave a thank you note, they find the knothole cemented! Jem asks Nathan Radley on his way home why he cemented the tree, but Nathan tells him he did it because the tree was dying, an answer Jem knew was a lie.

Analysis

The author introduces us to Jem’s journey into puberty. Scout mentions that he is often moody, eats more food and prefers to play with boys his own age. He even goes as far as showing Scout his newly sprouted chest hair. His emotional growth tends to go hand in hand with his physical growth. For instance, he decides to keep the information about the fact that Boo Radley might have been the one who mended his pants to himself. He uses his wit to nurture his belief that Boo Radley may be the one leaving them gifts in the oak tree. He gets upset when Nathan Radley cements the knothole because he feels like Nathan has destroyed Boo’s method of communicating and interacting with the outside world.

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