In To Kill A Mockingbird Scout says that the events leading up to Jem's broken arm started with the Ewells, but Jem "said it started long before that."
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Answered by Aslan
We learn about all the plot points leading up to Jem's broken arm. We learn that the Ewell's were only a piece of the story that lead up to the broken arm. Racism, small towns, family histories....all had a part.