Chapters 6, 7 and 8
The children return home to find the neighborhood adults assembled, brought
out of their homes by the sound the of the shotgun. They include Atticus, Miss Maudie and Miss Stephanie Crawford. The gossiping Crawford tells the children that Nathan Radley has shot at a Negro in his
Atticus asks Jem what has happened to his pants and he makes up a ridiculous
story about being at a strip poker game at Dill’s house. Later that night Jem sneaks out of his bedroom returning to the Radley place to retrieve his pants.
He finds them folded neatly where he had left them and repaired from the
damage they had sustained on the fence.
At the start of the school year Jem tells Scout about the mysteriously
mended pants and when they come home together from school they find another present hidden in the knothole of the tree. The gifts appear at regular intervals and are more and more expensive.
There are two figures carved in soap resembling Scout and Jem followed by a spelling-bee medal, an old pocket watch and so on. The children decide to leave a note thanking their unknown benefactor, but they find the knothole filled with cement. Nathan Radley tells Jem that he has plugged the hole in order to stop the dying oak tree from rotting.
For the first time in decades, there is an unusually cold snap of weather
and Maycomb gets snow.
As a result the school is closed and Jem and Scout spend the day trying to build a snowman. That night Scout is awakened by a commotion and she goes outside to find that Miss Maudie’s house is on fire. The neighbors have rallied round and have saved her furniture and the fire truck manages to stop the fire spreading to the other houses, but Miss Maudie’s house is lost.
the confusion, someone drapes a blanket over Scout and when quizzed
by Atticus about it she has no idea who has put it over her. Jem
decides that it must have been Boo Radley and then he reveals the
story about the knothole to Atticus including the story about his
mended pants. Atticus tells them to keep this a secret.
The reader feels more and more sympathy towards Boo Radley as the story
develops. Although the reader clearly guesses that Boo Radley mended Jem’s pants and placed the presents in the tree, Scout does not realize this until Jem explains it to Atticus after the fire. It is
clear that Jem is becoming more worldly wise and shares his father’s strong sense of justice.
There is a definite gothic feel to the book due to the surreal happenings,
which take place. We have the strange phenomena of snow so far south, coupled with the fire to Miss Maudie’s house.
There is the description of the Radley’s run-down home in which resides the
The fire in itself is symbolic of the impending battle, which Scout and the
community will face. The heat of the fire contrasts sharply with the severe cold providing an allusion to the sharply defined sides in the forthcoming trial.
While Scout remains full of optimism and retains her na've look on life, Jem
undergoes disappointment after disappointment with the adult world as he develops.
Scout and Jem build a fine snowman and Miss Maudie remains
optimistic after her house is destroyed. Even when she sees that her prize flowers were first frozen and then charred by the fire she offers a cheerful comment about wanting a larger garden and a smaller
house. It is clear that many of the characters remain cheerful despite the setbacks, which occur.