Their neighbor Miss Maudie, is also a friend of the children. Scout questions her about Boo, and Maudie explains that there is nothing wrong with Boo, or rather Arthur( his real name). Mr. Radley had been a Protestant Baptist, with strong religious notions which Miss Maudie didn’t believe in. She then assures Scout that all the stories built around the Radley house are imaginary ones.
Dill and Jem have, in the meantime, formulated a plan delivering a note to Boo, inviting him to come out and meet them. Scout is petrified, but agrees to carry out her part of guarding the area, for fear of being labeled a girl and a ‘sissy’.
However, their plan does not succeed as Atticus arrives and dissuades them from tormenting Boo, instructing them to leave him alone.
People in the county have a very high regard for Atticus. As Miss Maudie puts it - "If Atticus drank until he was drunk, he wouldn’t be as hard as some men are at their best."
Dill and Jem’s desire to bring Boo out of the house not only shows their sincere attempts at befriending him; it is also an innocent need to see him and find out if he is for real. It is an innate curiosity of knowing what has never been clearly revealed to them. All such hopes are, however, quashed by Atticus who doesn’t believe in interfering in other people’s private lives.
Dill’s childish desire of marrying Scout and his subsequent neglect towards her also indicates the evolving behavior of children who at one point, want to do what grown ups do, and the next minute, get busy doing juvenile things. Scout’s angry reaction of giving Dill a thrashing is also very typical of her temperament: she always likes to behave boyish and this is a chance to display her aggressive trait..
Jem and Scout get permission to spend the last night with Dill before he goes back. Dill and Jem had already planned out a night walk across Boo’s place. They reach the house, and Dill climbs on their shoulders to look in. He sees nothing, however, as it is too dark. Then they suddenly see a shadow of a man wearing a hat. Just when they think that he is going to lay his hands on them, the shadow walks away. All three run off in terror and they hear a shotgun go off behind them. On reaching home, they find Nathan Radley, Atticus, Miss Maudie, Miss Stephanie Crawford, Miss Rachel and Mr. Avery standing outside their house. It turns out that Mr. Radley had taken a shot at the Negro intruder. Atticus, meanwhile, notices that Jem’s pants are pants (which he had lost while climbing through the fence) and comments on it. They are left alone after some feeble attempts at giving explanations. In the middle of the night, Jem returns to the fence to retrieve his pants.
The children, apparently, are undeterred by Atticus’ instructions to leave the Radley family alone, and thus they dare to make second attempt to meet Boo in the night. But once again their plans backfire.
Jem is embarrassed at being caught without his pants in front of a gathering. So that their lie of having played strip poker, is not discovered, Jem has to attempt going into that area again to retrieve his pants. Scout’s fear, as she awaits Jem’s safe return, has been portrayed touchingly. Along with this, the added fear of Atticus waking up and catching Jem not at bed, is awesome. But all is well as Jem returns, holding up his pants speechlessly.
TheBestNotes Staff. "TheBestNotes on To_Kill_A_Mockingbird_Study_Guide".
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