December 3

Jem held out a filthy piece of paper. Atticus took it and tried to read it. “Why do you want Mr. Radley to come out?” Dill said, “We thought he might enjoy us…”

Tonight you should read chapters 4-7 of To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • Choose a passage from tonight’s reading, which you would like to analyze in class.  Explain why you think it may be significant.
  • Make sure that you read all or some of your classmates posts and respond to at least one other comment in this thread.
Mockingbird blog #2


Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

Posted December 3, 2018 by equinson in category To Kill a Mockingbird

36 thoughts on “Jem held out a filthy piece of paper. Atticus took it and tried to read it. “Why do you want Mr. Radley to come out?” Dill said, “We thought he might enjoy us…”

  1. Myles Ng

    “You want to be a lawyer, don’t you?” Our father’s mouth was suspiciously firm,
    as if he were trying to hold it in line.

    Jem decided there was no point in quibbling, and was silent. When Atticus went inside the house to retrieve a file he had forgotten to take to work that morning, Jem finally realized that he had been done in by the oldestlawyer’s trick on record. He waited a respectful distance from the front steps, watched Atticus leave the house and walk toward town. When Atticus was out of earshot Jem yelled after him: “I thought I wanted to be a lawyer but I ain’t so sure now!”
    This paragraph shows what Jem has been doing. It shows his aspirations for the future and most importantly it provides some minor problem that will most likely move along the plot later in the book. I think that his father does not approve of Jem aspiring to become a lawyer because most people from the south in this time period were farmers.

    Reply
    1. Laila Sayegh

      I agree. I do not think that Atticus hopes for Jem to become a lawyer and I am curious to know how this will affect Jem’s future.

      Reply
  2. Emily

    “When I went back for my breeches- they were all in a tangle when I was gettin’ out of ‘em, I couldn’t get ‘em loose. When I went back-… they were folded across the fence… like they were expecting me.”(p. 78)

    When Jem abandoned his pants in his desperate act of escape, they were so mangled up that it was impossible for him to leave with them. However, as he went to retrieve them they were neatly waiting for him, as if someone knew that he was going to eventually come back for them. I for one, can only think of two possible explanations for this strange occurrence. One being that Mr. Radley was not as enraged as he was portrayed after he shot the gun in the air. In that scene he was made out to be extremely angry with the sense that he was on a rampage for revenge and he would not stop until the accused party was found and brought to justice. Perhaps, after he revisited the sight and found a pair of childrens pants left behind he realized his mistake and he left the pants there, instead of causing an inquisitive child to get into trouble. The second possible explanation would be that Boo Radley is not as horrible of a character as Scout thinks. Maybe he saw, from inside the house, that the true culprits were three frightened children, and he felt sympathy for them and then he decided to show his condolences by folding and repairing Jem’s pants.

    Reply
    1. Kate Ma.

      Very good points you bring up with the mystery of the folded pants. I agree with you and is intrigued to find out more about the secret of Boo and the Radleys.

      Reply
  3. Kate Ma.

    “What Mr.Radley did might seem peculiar to us , but it did not seem peculiar to him. Futhermore, had it never occurred to us that the civil way to communicate with another being was by the front door rather than a side window?… We were not to play an asinine game he had seen us playing or make fun of anybody on this street or in this town-” (p 65)
    This passage intrigued me as it gave insight to Atticus’s personality and parenting skills. As we all know, Jem, Dill and Scout were messing around doing things they weren’t supposed to like messing with the Radley house. This passage shows us how Atticus knows that they were not being very good, so he stepped in and told them off. Although Atticus did not stop them from messing with the Radleys, he gave off the impression that if they were caught he would be very mad. I think that this shows how the kids were very playful and made stupid choices like messing with things they don’t know anything about. The Radley’s are very secretive people and the stories the kids hear are myths. Atticus shows us more insight to his morals and personality as he continues to parent his kids and take responsibility for the actions instead of letting them get away with whatever they want.

    Reply
  4. Laila Sayegh

    “Scout, I’m tellin’ you for the last time, shut your trap or go home—I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!” With that, I had no option but to join them.”

    This quote shows how different the morals were back then than they are nowadays. It gives the reader a good understanding of what types of labels/stereotypes were placed on people in the type period this written in. Although Scout is in fact a girl, Jem still uses the term girl to insult her and unfortunately, labeling her as that one word was enough to make her give in. It is almost as though it is frowned upon to be a girl. Almost every time Scout doesn’t want to do something or shows signs of “weakness”, Jem calls her a girl which was probably a very common stereotype back then. It just goes to show what type of society we should be expecting to see more of as we continue reading.

    Reply
  5. janem

    “We were walking past our tree. In its knot-hole rested a ball of gray twine.” (p. 78)

    This quote came to my attention for two different reasons. First, Scout refers to this tree as her and Jem’s tree, not as part of the Radley’s property. Because Jem and she have been taking the things that they find from the tree, means that in her young mind she has adopted the tree as her own. I think this reflects the culture of her town and her family. In some ways, she believes that she is superior, which is why she was shamming Walter at dinner and assuming everything that she found in the tree was hers. Second, this sentence is significant because of the gray twine. I’m wondering if this twine is the same twine that was used to fix Jem’s pants. This tree could be related to how and/or who fixed Jem’s pants, or the two details could have no connection whatsoever. The tree may be anything from an old plant on Scout’s way to school, or it could be a significant piece in the book’s plot.

    Reply
    1. Mikayla Friedman

      I didn’t even realize the twine could be the same twine used to fix Jem’s pants, but it makes perfect sense! It was probably Arthur Radley or Nathan Radley who did both. I also agree with your analysis of Scout and the way she refers to the tree as hers. I thinks she does believe she is superior, but she doesn’t realize it in her childish mind.

      Reply
  6. Emma Garbowitz

    “He had asked me earlier in the summer to marry him, then he promptly forgot about it. He staked me out, marked as his property, said I was the only girl he would ever love, then he neglected me. I beat him up twice but it did no good, he only grew closer to Jem. They spent days together in the treehouse plotting and planning, calling me only when they needed a third party. But I kept aloof from their more foolhardy schemes for a while, and on pain of being called a girl…,” (p.55).

    After reading this specific scene at the very beginning of chapter 4, I realized there was something very significant about it. Scout wanted to hang out with the boys and play games with them to feel included and just have fun. However, Jem and Dill only use her in the games when they feel it is necessary for her to have a part to make the game complete. Also, it seems as though when Scout is playing her part in the game they always treat her differently because she was a girl. I found this to be extremely rude and unfair. The boys can not treat Scout any differently just because she is a girl. Scout can do the same things that they can and she deserves to be included in ALL their games. This is unjust and a very bias thing to do. Furthermore, this proves to the reader that this was a very sexist time and not all people were treated as equally as they should’ve been. Everyone deserves to have equal rights no matter who they are or what other people think of them. Therefore, I thought this scene was of great significance because it showed the reader how the book is somewhat sexist and is during a time where not all people are treated with the same amount of respect!

    Reply
  7. jaclynl

    “I was not so sure, but Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always imagined
    things, that’s why other people hated them so, and if I started behaving like one I
    could just go off and find some to play with.”

    This specific paragraph came to my attention because it shows a lot about the time period in which the novel takes place. Through these four chapters tonight, Scout was often left out or treated differently because of the fact that she is a girl. Not only that, but during this time period, girls are treated as though they are less than men, and it is some type of horrible quality to have. In this paragraph alone, the stereotypes described are very different than those in today’s society. I can see gender becoming a problem discussed later on in the story since the main protagonist is a girl during this time.

    Reply
  8. Hannah Pitkofsky

    “You want to be a lawyer, don’t you?” Our father’s mouth was suspiciously firm,
    as if he were trying to hold it in line. Jem decided there was no point in quibbling, and was silent. When Atticus went inside the house to retrieve a file he had forgotten to take to work that morning, Jem finally realized that he had been done in by the oldest lawyer’s trick on record. He waited a respectful distance from the front steps, watched Atticus leave the house and walk toward town. When Atticus was out of earshot Jem yelled after him: “I thought I wanted to be a lawyer but I ain’t so sure now!”

    This paragraph is significant to the story because it shows Jem’s aspirations for the future and what he wants to do with his life in the future. The fact that his father refused to accept the fact that Jem wanted to be a lawyer could also become a problem later on in the plotline and could cause problems for Scout and Jem later on. I can infer that Jem and his father will have some tension later on in the novel because the tension has already begun between the two characters.

    Reply
  9. Brishti Sarkar

    “‘Scout, I’m tellin’ you for the last time, shut your trap or go home– I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!’

    With that, I had no option but to join them…” (p. 69)

    I chose this passage because it gave more context to the time period the book takes place in. This story takes place before the civil rights movement, so women were not equal to men as much as they are today. This explains why calling someone a “girl” was considered an insult. Today, if someone called a female person a “girl”, then they would not be insulted by it, because in our society calling someone a girl is not considered to be a degrading insult. This sets the scene for the rest of the book, and we get to know the kind of world that Scout lives in vs. the world we live in. Another thing that I found interesting is how Scout felt pressured into going with the boys because they insulted her. That shows how bad being a girl was, and how absurd it is that she does not want to be considered a girl, even though she is.

    Reply
    1. Sophie

      I like your comparison about being called a girl in different time periods. It was indeed very different in the past, and I agree with your thoughts how Scout felt pressured. Its a shame that she felt discouraged about her gender and became forceful on herself to go play with the boys.

      Reply
      1. angelicac1

        I agree as well. When Scout felt pressured, she forgot about her true self and she forced herself to attempt to fit in with the boys. It was as if Scout was ashamed of her own sex.

        Reply
  10. Mikayla Friedman

    “I was not so sure, but Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always imagined things, that’s why other people hated them so, and if I start behaving like one I could just go off and find some to play with,” (p. 54)

    This paragraph highlights a common gender stereotype of this time period. In today’s world, women are fighting for equal rights, and for the fact that a person’s gender shouldn’t define them and what they can or cannot do. I understand that in the 1930s, women were far from having the same rights as men (they had just gotten the right to vote!), but that doesn’t make it alright for Jem to exclude Scout for the sole reason of her being a girl. In addition, throughout tonight’s reading Jem is constantly telling Scout she is becoming more and more like a girl. For instance, Jem says, “‘I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day,’” (p. 69) I find it interesting that Jem and Dill don’t think of Scout as a girl when she plays with them, instead, to them she is usually just ‘one of the guys.’ It is only when she starts to show fear of doing something, or mentions that whatever Jem wants to do might not be a good idea, does Jem tell her she is acting like a girl. These qualities of apprehension or fear were generally associated with a girl in this time period, and that is why I think Jem calls Scout a girl in these moments. Furthermore, when Scout tells Jem not to mess with Boo (Arthur) Radley, she is right in saying they will get in trouble! Her ‘girlish’ qualities pay off when Jem is being rash.

    Since gender stereotypes are already entering the novel, I think it will be a key theme throughout the rest of the book. I hope Scout will defy these stereotypes, and prove that being a girl has nothing to do with ability.

    Reply
    1. Emma Garbowitz

      I totally agree about the gender stereotypes. I wrote about the exact same thing and how women have less rights than men and how they are treated differently.

      Reply
  11. Sunna

    “‘Scout, I’m tellin’ you for the last time, shut your trap or go home—I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!’ With that, I had no option but to join them.”

    I felt that this paragraph was extremely significant because it shows us how sexist those times were (not that they still aren’t). It shows the reader that Scout felt so much of a pressure to “act like one of the guys”, lest she be insulted again. Being called a “girl” is obviously a term for being weak or scared. Scout was silenced by Jem, just as so many women are by certain men. These insults made her feel less than Jem because of her gender, and she didn’t say anything. This is unusual for Scout, because she has quite the fiery personality.

    Reply
  12. Sophie

    “Mr. Radley shot at a Negro in his collard patch” (p. 72)

    Racism and discrimination has been a problem in society for many many years. To Kill A Mockingbird’s story line includes racism and discrimination, and the quote above is the first big prejudice event to occur. Since life is taking place in the 1930’s, African Americans were the biggest target. Fortunately, the man who was aimed at did not come in contact with the bullet, but the fact that a white man fired a gun down onto an African American shows a lot of hate. The type of hatred people get when people are different from them. The type of hatred that occurs when people associate different physical appearances with negative personalities. Prejudicial actions are difficult for everybody getting involved. This first event was only the beginning, and my predictions are that the occurrences of racial injustice are only going to get worse.

    Reply
    1. Casey

      I agree. Scout and Jem will most likely witness many more events including racism and sexism. Hopefully they will realize the difference between right and wrong as the story progresses.

      Reply
  13. Casey

    “I was not so sure, but Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always imagined
    things, that’s why other people hated them so, and if I started behaving like one I
    could just go off and find some to play with.”

    This passage is important because it shows the setting and many people’s mentalities when this story takes place. Scout always plays with her older brother and his friends. There hasn’t been a part in the book where Scout has talked to or played with another girl her age. This passage shows the stereotypes that existed during this story. Jem repeatedly tells Scout that she is “gettin’ more like a girl every day!’ Here, Jem is using the word ‘girl’ as an insult, when now, it is not common for many people to get insulted by being called a girl. Of course there are still people who say things such as “you scream like a girl” but most of the time it isn’t as insulting as it would be in the time when this book takes place. This is just like the article we read in class about the context and time in which the word is being used affects its meaning. In this scene Scout is being insulted by being called ‘girly’. She feels that she won’t be able to play with her brother if she is ‘girly’. Whenever she gets called ‘a girl’ she feels the need to stop and do what her brother says in hope of fitting in better. Scout still loves her brother more than anyone else but I don’t know if him calling her a ‘girl’ will effect their relationship.

    Reply
  14. angelicac1

    “Scout, I’m tellin’ you for the last time, shut your trap or go home—I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!” With that, I had no option but to join them.” (p. 69)

    In the period this novel takes place in, calling someone a “girl” would be considered an insult. It would mean that you were weak or not capable of doing something. I chose this passage because it revealed what kind of person Scout is. In this situation, most girls would’ve challenged the boys throwing the insults, but Scout did no action to defend herself. Instead Scout joined the boys. Scout didn’t join the boys because of peer pressure. It was primarily because she wanted to fit in with them. Most girls are proud of their own sex and are pleased to be considered a girl. On the other hand, Scout acts as if she’s ashamed of being a girl and that being considered one would be the worst thing.

    Reply
    1. trinityt

      I agreed! Back then, men and women weren’t treated equally. The stereotype back then that girls were weak and incapable of doing certain things made being called a girl as an insult. In today’s world, it is the complete opposite, and I’m glad it’s the opposite of back then. I also agreed that Scout was peer pressure.

      Reply
  15. Hannah M.

    During tonights reading what interested me and grabbed my attention were the objects that were placed in the tree in front of the Radley’s house. This seemed quite strange and suspicious to me. As Scout began to collect the objects in the tree i made a inference that Boo Radley is the one who is so called, “communicating” with Scout. I made the assumption that it appeared as if Boo was isolated just like how the pennies in the box and the gum in the wrapper are trapped. Maybe Boo is trying to tell us that Nathan is trapping himself in his house… This leads me to the conclusion that Boo is talking to Scout, Jem and Dill pratically begging them to help him escape the life he has that is a life controlled by others. All he wants is his own, free life.

    Reply
  16. johnh1

    “I was not so sure, but Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always imagined
    things, that’s why other people hated them so, and if I started behaving like one I
    could just go off and find some to play with.”
    I chose this quote because these few chapters have a lot of Scout being called a girl. In reality she is female, so she is a girl. However, her brother and Dill say that she is acting like a girl. This shows that they see being a girl as a behavior more than a gender. They act like it is this awful thing that Scout must never be. Scout can be tough and have fun and be a girl but the way things were back then, a girl would be seen as weaker and not supposed to do what Scout does. Because of this, Dill and Jem’s minds don’t think about it that way to a certain extent.

    Reply
  17. MadiR

    “Through all the head-shaking, quelling of nausea and Jem-yelling, I had heard another sound, so low I could not have heard it from the sidewalk. Someone inside the house was laughing.”(p.54)

    This quote at the end of chapter 4, is very significant in the novel. After Scout landed in the Radley’s yard, the reader learns later on that she heard laughing coming from inside the house. This event has the reader form inferences about what could happen to Scout and Jem later in the novel if they continue to bother the Radley’s home. Anyone in the house at the time could have been laughing and there could have been many reasons why they were laughing not just at Scout. This quote is significant because it makes the reader question what could happen next in the novel.

    Reply
    1. Zoe

      I agree that there could be serious consequences in the future if Jem and Scout decide to keep messing with the Radley’s home. I also think that they will eventually decide to venture to the yard or try to knock on their door and something horrible will happen. I also think the laughing might occur throughout the reading, maybe as a symbol of the Radley’s enjoyment of Scout or Jem’s pain or their craziness. Great job analyzing the quote. I agree it seems important for the rest of the story.

      Reply
  18. Zoe

    “When I went back for my breeches- they were all in a tangle when I was gettin’ out of ‘em, I couldn’t get ‘em loose. When I went back-… they were folded across the fence… like they were expecting me.” (p. 78)

    This passage seemed especially important towards the story because it was unexpected for the story and definitely confused the reader. It also created the first nice interaction between the Radleys or whoever the person must have been and Jem. It also seemed confusing whether it was Nathan Radley who had just shot at Jem, Scout, and Dill or if it was Boo Radley or even another person who we haven’t met yet. Either way, it was strange that the Radleys or anyone else would take such nice care of these pants. It was also strange when later Scout found a blanket draped around her after looking at the fire and Jem thought Boo Radley had done it. Both were strange and unusual for the Radleys to be doing and seemed important for interactions between the Radleys and Jem and Scout for the future.

    Reply
  19. stephaniec

    “Scout, I’m tellin’ you for the last time, shut your trap or go home I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl everyday”
    “With that, I had no option but to join them.”

    This piece of text revealed a lot about how the term “girls” were used in this time period. When Jem called Scout a girl, he used as an insult. After hearing the term girl to describe her, she felt that she must “prove her brother wrong”. In addition, this reveals Scout’s personality. She believes that she must fit in with the boys because she is uncomfortable with being considered a girl.

    Reply
  20. trinityt

    “‘Scout, I’m tellin’ you for the last time, shut your trap or go home-I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!’ With that, I had no option but to join them.'” (p.69).

    This passage is significant because it shows what the setting was like when this novel takes place. Apparently, it was considered an insult if you were called a girl, even if you are one. This shows the stereotype back then that girls were considered weak and incapable of doing something. This also shows the inequality between men and women that take place back then. On the other hand, today, both men and women are treated equally, and it is definitely not an insult when someone calls you a girl. Today, we are proud of our sex/gender.

    Reply
  21. Maddie

    “‘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.'”

    I chose this passage because we see the views of Jem and Scout begin to change. At the beginning, the two children, as well as all the kids in town, are afraid to even go near the tree by the Radley house. They fear that he will come out of his house and kill them. As the story progresses, and Scout eats the chewing gum and doesn’t die, Jem feels that it is safe to take the other items from the tree without worry. This also gives the two enough courage to write the above letter, and another letter, which they even try giving to Boo Radley in his house!

    Another reason that I find this passage significant is because in the letter, they describe the things put in the tree as theirs. For all they know, they could be taking these things from someone who hid them there. They know that this is a possibility, but after they find the soap with their pictures carved in it, they forget about that thought. The soap also proves that whoever is putting things in the tree knows who is taking them.

    Reply
  22. josepha4

    “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”…Mr. Nathan Radley said it was dyin'”(p 84)
    This quote from the text is important because it in some way links Mr. Nathan Radley to the peculiarity that goes on within the tree. In the tree Scout and Jem find treasures such as packages of gum, a broken watch and a knife. This may not be a lot to an adult but it holds importance to children. We still don’t known who is filling the tree with things, or why they do it if it’s getting stolen. However with the new piece of evidence linking Mr. Radley to it we can assume one of two things, either he has been the one filling the tree, or he knows something about it. I predict that Mr. Radley will become an increasingly crucial character throughout the story.

    Reply
  23. maxwellw

    Jem was facing me when he looked up, and I saw him go stark white.
    “Scout!”
    I ran to him.
    Someone had filled our knot-hole with cement.
    “Don’t you cry, now, Scout… don’t cry now, don’t you worry-” he muttered at me all the way to school.

    I believe this scene is important as in comparison to Scout’s still very childish perspective, Jem’s more mature understanding of the world is evident here, along with his strong sense of justice. When Nathan Radley plugs up the hole in the tree, Scout is disappointed but hardly heartbroken, seeing it as merely the end of their presence. Jem, on the other hand, is brought to tears, because he grasps that Boo’s brother has done something cruel: he has deprived Boo of his connection to the wider world and has broken up his brother’s attempt at friendship.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*