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Chapter 7

Professor Bradley Greenburg from Northeastern Illinois University explains Chapter 7 in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a Mockingbird | Chapter 7 | Summary

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Summary

School starts again and Scout is worried about Jem's quiet demeanor ever since their misadventure at the Radley house the week before. He finally admits that he has been withholding some troubling information. When he went back to get his torn pants, he found them crudely stitched and neatly folded across the fence as if someone was expecting him to return.

As Scout and Jem walk past the old tree at the edge of the Radley property, they notice a ball of twine tucked into the knothole. They discuss who might be hiding things there, but Jem is convinced someone is leaving things specifically for them. From then on, believing the gifts are intended for them, they take whatever they find. Hoping to leave a thank-you note for the gifts, the children are disappointed to find the knothole mysteriously cemented.

Jem waits to catch Nathan Radley coming home so he can ask him if he put the cement in the tree. Nathan Radley tells Jem that he did put cement in the tree because the tree is dying, but Jem knows this isn't true.

Analysis

In Chapter 7 Jem's journey into puberty is evident. Scout often mentions his moodiness, how he eats more, and how he prefers playing with boys his age. He even shows Scout his newly sprouted chest hairs.

With his physical growth, Jem seems to also gain emotional growth. He realizes, although he doesn't share the information, that Boo Radley is probably the person who mended his pants and comes to believe it is Boo who is leaving the gifts in the oak tree. It upsets him when Nathan Radley cements the knothole closed because he understands that this has destroyed Boo's method of communicating with the outside world.

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Questions for Chapter 7

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