Study Guide

To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

  • Every day Scout runs by the Radley Place to get home after school.
  • One day she notices something, and works up the nerve to go back and look at it.
  • A tree at the edge of the Radley yard has some tinfoil stuck to a knothole, and inside the hole Scout finds two pieces of chewing gum.
  • She takes it home, and, after some testing to try to make sure it's not poisoned, she chews it.
  • Jem's not too pleased with this and makes her spit it out… and then gargle.
  • Finally, it's summer. Hooray! School's out!
  • On their way home, they find another piece of tinfoil in the same knothole, and behind it a jewelry box, decorated with more tinfoil, containing two Indian-head pennies.
  • Should they keep it? Chewing gum is one thing, but money is another entirely.
  • Soon Dill shows up, full of stories. They're already bored, so Dill kick things up a notch by saying he can smell death, and tells Scout that her end is nigh.
  • She tells him to shut it, and Jem mocks both of them for being (or pretending to be) superstitious.
  • They horse around a little, and Scout ends up flying down the sidewalk in a tire (don't ask), which ends up dumping her in …
  • The Radleys' front yard.
  • Thanks to this adventure, Jem invents a new game: acting out the life and times of Boo Radley.
  • The game starts out simple, but gets more and more complex as the summer goes on.
  • Atticus gives this game the side-eye, but he doesn't explicitly forbid them from doing it since he doesn't know for sure what they're doing.
  • But Scout isn't so sure. She's pretty convinced that when she got dumped out of the tire she heard someone laughing inside the Radley house.

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