to kill a mockingbird essay jem growing up

  • My Preferences
  • My Reading List
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Literature Notes
  • To Kill a Mockingbird at a Glance
  • Book Summary
  • Character List
  • Summary and Analysis
  • Part 1: Chapter 1
  • Part 1: Chapters 2-3
  • Part 1: Chapters 4-5
  • Part 1: Chapters 6-7
  • Part 1: Chapters 8-9
  • Part 1: Chapters 10-11
  • Part 2: Chapters 12-13
  • Part 2: Chapters 14-16
  • Part 2: Chapters 17-20
  • Part 2: Chapters 21-23
  • Part 2: Chapters 24-26
  • Part 2: Chapters 27-28
  • Part 2: Chapters 29-31
  • Character Analysis
  • Scout (Jean Louise) Finch
  • Atticus Finch
  • Dill Harris
  • Boo Radley and Tom Robinson
  • Aunt Alexandra and Miss Maudie Atkinson
  • Bob and Mayella Ewell
  • Character Map
  • About To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Harper Lee Biography
  • Critical Essays
  • Racial Relations in the Southern United States
  • Comparing To Kill a Mockingbird to Its Movie Version
  • Famous Quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Film Versions of To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Full Glossary for To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Essay Questions
  • Practice Projects
  • Cite this Literature Note

Character Analysis Jem Finch

Jem ages from 10 to 13 over the course of  To Kill a Mockingbird , a period of great change in any child's life. Jem is no exception to this rule. Interestingly, the changes he undergoes are seen from the point-of-view of a younger sister, which gives a unique perspective on his growth.

Jem represents the idea of bravery in the novel, and the way that his definition changes over the course of the story is important. The shift that occurs probably has as much to do with age as experience, although the experiences provide a better framework for the reader. When the story begins, Jem's idea of bravery is simply touching the side of the Radley house and then only because "In all his life, Jem had never declined a dare." But as the story progresses, Jem learns about bravery from Atticus facing a mad dog, from Mrs. Dubose's fight with addiction, and from Scout's confrontation with the mob at the jail, among others. And along the way, he grows from a boy who drags his sister along as a co-conspirator to a young gentleman who protects his Scout and tries to help her understand the implications of the events around her.

His own sister finds Jem a genuinely likeable boy, if sometimes capable of "maddening superiority." He very much wants to be like his father, and plans to follow him into law. He idolizes Atticus and would rather risk personal injury than disappoint his father. As he grows older, he begins to do what is right even though his decision may not be popular. For instance, when Dill sneaks into Scout's bedroom after running away from home, Jem can only say, "'You oughta let your mother know where you are'" and makes the difficult decision to involve Atticus. Afterward, he's temporarily exiled by his friends, but he maintains the rightness of his decision without apology.

Like many adolescents, Jem is idealistic. Even after Atticus' long explanation about the intricacies of the Tom Robinson case, Jem is unable to accept the jury's conviction. In fact, he is ready to overhaul the justice system and abolish juries altogether. Wisely, Atticus doesn't try to squelch or minimize Jem's feelings; by respecting his son, Atticus allows Jem to better cope with the tragedy. Still, Jem turns on Scout when she tells him about Miss Gates' racist remarks at the courthouse, shouting, "'I never wanta hear about that courthouse again, ever, ever, you hear me?'" His coping skills are still developing, and his family is the one group that gives him the room that he needs to hone them.

Ironically, Jem, who so strongly identifies with Tom Robinson, is the only person in the story who is left with physical evidence of the whole event. More ironic still is the fact that Jem's injury leaves "His left arm . . . somewhat shorter than the right" just like Tom Robinson's, and Tom Robinson sustained his injury at approximately the same age. That the man responsible for breaking Jem's arm was also responsible for sending Tom to prison (and indirectly, responsible for his death) serves to drive the irony home.

The adult Jean Louise doesn't provide much insight into the adult Jeremy Atticus Finch, but from the fact that the story begins with their disagreement over when various events started, the reader can assume that they maintained a similar relationship into adulthood.

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to kill a mockingbird essay jem growing up

To Kill a Mockingbird

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Over the course of the novel’s three years, Scout , Dill , and Jem grow up both physically and mentally. They begin the novel with a firm and uncomplicated idea of what’s good and what’s bad, but by the end of the novel, they’ve all lost their innocence and have come to a more complex understanding of how people and the world work. In particular, having Scout, whom the reader meets at age six, narrate the story allows the novel to show clearly how children lose their innocence as they grow—while also using Scout’s innocence to look freshly at Maycomb and her world to criticize its flaws.

Though Scout is a precocious child in a variety of ways, the novel also goes to great lengths to comically demonstrate how innocent and unaware Scout is of the world around her. For example, she believes Jem’s unfounded claim that the teaching method Miss Caroline promotes is called the Dewey Decimal System—in reality, a system of organizing a library—and referring to her and Jem’s snowman as an “Absolute Morphodite” in such a way that betrays that she has no idea what “morphodite” actually means (a hermaphrodite, a plant or animal with both male and female sex organs). The children also firmly believe, for the first year of the novel, that Boo Radley is a zombie-like figure who eats small mammals or, possibly, is dead and stuffed up the chimney of the Radley house. While undeniably humorous to the reader, who’s likely aware that these notions are ridiculous and incorrect, the beliefs themselves function as a window into just how youthful and innocent Scout, Jem, and Dill truly are.

The children’s innocence, as represented by these instances of misunderstandings or far-fetched superstitions, isn’t always entirely humorous, however. Particularly once Scout begins attending school, the novel suggests that even though children may be prone to this kind of nonsense and far-fetched storytelling, they’re still innately able to recognize the ridiculousness of the adult world around them, and in particular, the ineffectiveness of the school system. Scout’s precocity and intelligence means that when she enters the first grade, she already knows how to read and write, both printing and cursive—something that her teacher, Miss Caroline, finds threatening and offensive for seemingly no real reason, and even punishes Scout for. In this sense, Scout begins to see that the adult world is just as nonsensical as the reader can see that Scout’s childhood world is—though the adult world is one that forces growing children to conform and fall into line, rather than one that relies on imagination and individuality. With this, Scout is encouraged by Atticus to understand that while she may one day have to enter the world of adults and grow up, the path to get there is one on which she’ll have to fight constantly for her individuality. As the novel wears on and Scout witnesses terrible cruelty and injustice, it also suggests that she’ll also have to fight hard to maintain her sense of compassion, right, and wrong.

Mr. Gilmer ’s interrogation of Tom Robinson is a wakeup call for the children, and their reaction to Robinson’s the trial suggests that although children can be naïve, they are often more perceptive and compassionate than the supposedly mature adults around them. Dill, in particular, is angered and overcome by the rude and racist way that Mr. Gilmer speaks to Robinson. Outside the courthouse, Mr. Raymond , a man whom Scout previously thought was an evil drunk, suggests that Dill only has the reaction he does because he’s a child—as children grow, he suggests, they lose their capacity to cry over injustices like Robinson experiences, as they learn to conform to adult rules of polite society that forbid reactions like that (and for white people like Scout and Dill, also discourages that kind of compassion directed toward black people in the first place). Mr. Raymond is, notably, an outsider in Maycomb, as he’s white and yet lives with his black girlfriend because he wants to, a choice that’s unthinkable to even someone like Scout. It’s because of his outsider status that he’s able to make these observations and confirm for Dill that what’s happening to Robinson is awful—though it’s still possible, he suggests, that Dill will one day “fall into line” and conform to the hatred around him. Later, Atticus echoes Mr. Raymond when he tells an angry and tearful Jem that juries have been wrongfully convicting black men for years, will continue to do so, and that only children cry when it happens—another indicator that children, who are more unencumbered by social codes and pressure to fit in, are innately able to pick up on injustices like this. The hope, the novel suggests, is that they’ll be able to maintain this ability to look at the world in this way once they enter the adult world and face pressures to conform and bury their sense of right and wrong.

Tom Robinson’s trial represents the end of an era of blissful innocence for both Scout and Jem. Jem in particular struggles to understand how such a thing could’ve happened, a thought process that Atticus suggests simply reflects where Jem is in his development—at 13, Jem understands better than Scout how the case unfolded, which makes it more difficult in many ways for him to deal with. While the novel doesn’t resolve Jem’s angst and inability to wrap his head around what happened, it does offer hope that both he and Scout will be able to maintain their moral compasses, as well as their compassion, into adulthood. Scout’s major coming-of-age moment happens as she stands on the Radley porch and, as Atticus has instructed her to do at several points, "climb[s] into [Boo Radley's] skin.” She’s able to understand, through this, that Boo may be very different from her in a variety of ways, but he’s still a compassionate, self-sacrificial neighbor who’s worthy of respect and kindness. This leap in understanding suggests that as Scout continues to grow and develop past the novel’s close, she will be able to maintain her belief in what’s morally right, even as she loses her innocence and moves toward adulthood.

Growing Up ThemeTracker

To Kill a Mockingbird PDF

Growing Up Quotes in To Kill a Mockingbird

After my bout with Cecil Jacobs when I committed myself to a policy of cowardice, word got around that Scout Finch wouldn't fight any more, her daddy wouldn't let her.

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“Atticus, you must be wrong…”

“How's that?”

“Well, most folks seem to think they're right and you're wrong…”

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Dill's eyes flickered at Jem, and Jem looked at the floor. Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood. He went out of the room and down the hall. “Atticus,” his voice was distant, “can you come here a minute, sir?”

Beneath its sweat-streaked dirt Dill's face went white. I felt sick.

Jem was standing in a corner of the room, looking like the traitor he was. “Dill, I had to tell him,” he said. “You can't run three hundred miles off without your mother knowin'.” We left him without a word.

“Well how do you know we ain't Negroes?”

“Uncle Jack Finch says we really don't know. He says as far as he can trace back the Finches we ain't, but for all he knows we mighta come straight out of Ethiopia durin' the Old Testament.”

“Well if we came out durin' the Old Testament it's too long ago to matter.”

“That's what I thought," said Jem, “but around here once you have a drop of Negro blood, that makes you all black.”

“The way that man called him 'boy' all the time an' sneered at him, an' looked around at the jury every time he answered— … It ain't right, somehow it ain't right to do 'em that way. Hasn't anybody got any business talkin' like that—it just makes me sick.”

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“They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it—seems that only children weep.”

[Jem] was certainly never cruel to animals, but I had never known his charity to embrace the insect world.

“Why couldn't I mash him?” I asked.

“Because they don't bother you,” Jem answered in the darkness. He had turned out his reading light.

A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishing-pole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention.

It was fall, and his children fought on the sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's [...] Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woes and triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive.

Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog.

Summer, and he watched his children's heart break. Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him.

Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.

“When they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things…Atticus, he was real nice…” His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. “Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.” He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.

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Essay On Jem Growing Up In To Kill A Mockingbird

to kill a mockingbird essay jem growing up

Show More In the book To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, we see Jem Finch grow up from a young, ornery boy to a now mature and intelligent young man. There are many changes that occur with him and many events that happen to help him mature. In my opinion, I think Jem’s process of growing up is an easy one for him as he learns many life lessons throughout the book. We watch Jem grow up throughout the book in many ways, but his main change started in part two of the book. Jem originally gets in trouble with Atticus for mocking neighbors and playing inappropriate games. But as the story continues Jem stops playing with Scout and starts to treat her with discipline, as he threatens to spank her once. He starts to take more responsibility for his actions, like when he ruined Mrs. Dubose’s flowers and then went to her house and apologized, and he becomes more mature, not wanting to be with Scout as much. Scout is upset by this and talks to Atticus, as Atticus says “I just can’t help it if Mister Jem’s growing up,”(118). These are some examples of how we see Jem grow up throughout the novel . For some people, the process of growing up can be hard and difficult. I think that growing up is an easy process for Jem and he is able to grow quickly due to events in his life. The fact that he is the …show more content… Not having a mother changed him in the way that he has to help Scout more and become more independent. The trial and losing it was a huge event that shaped Jem’s life, as it was one of his first realities of what his society is like. Jem realizes how wrong the trial is and it takes a great toll on him of how awful some people are, as he says, “It ain’t right,”(214), referring to the trial. I think his liking for football also shapes his life a bit as he tries harder to gain muscle and to be a player instead of just a water boy. All of these events have changed Jem, shaping him and helping him grow

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How Does Jem Grow Up In To Kill A Mockingbird

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to kill a mockingbird essay jem growing up

Who Is Jem Growing Up In To Kill A Mockingbird

Jem changes in to kill a mockingbird.

Jem is starting to follow in his father’s footsteps. Another example would be when Jem is starting to grow up. As he is starting to grow, Jem is changing the way he acts, such as him, visiting Mrs.Dubose’s grave and being “grateful for [Scout’s] company when he read to her [Mrs.Dubose]”. Earlier, when he was small, he disliked Mrs.Dubose because she would insult him and Scout. But it went far to an extent where Mrs.Dubose insulted Atticus for defending an African American, causing Jem to kill her favorite flowers. Atticus made him go to Mrs.Dubose’s house to read to her, every day for a month. Eventually, after a month, Atticus received the news that Mrs.Dubose has died. She sent a gift to Jem through Atticus, which was none other than her favorite flower- a camellia. Then he understands, from Atticus’s

Jem Coming Of Age In To Kill A Mockingbird

When you are a child the people around you have a huge impact on the way you grow up and see the world as you get older. For example, in the story To Kill a Mockingbird, there is a young boy named Jem who is son to a lawyer named Atticus. Jem starts off very immature and ignorant because he doesn’t understand the seriousness of peoples actions; as time goes on and he learns more about the people of Maycomb, the small town they live in, this allows him to be more mature and be able to make the right decisions when it comes to the way he treats people and who he associates himself with. He will start to learn how to be a good young man and how to lead himself to respect. Harper Lee shows coming of age in the story

Theme Of Coming Of Age In To Kill A Mockingbird

Courage is not strength or skill, it’s simply standing up for what you believe in and what is right. This is the theme that was enrolled after Jem destroys Mrs.Dubose’s camellias and after she died in chapter 11. This passage also reveals Jem’s coming of age moment. After using conflict, symbolism, and point of view, Harper Lee was able to connect the theme with Jems coming of age moment.

How Has Jem Finch Changed

¨It was times like these when I thought my father hated guns and had never been to any wars , was the bravest man ever lived¨ Children grow up, they face difficult problems and they are learning how to grow up and be mature and responsible for their actions in the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee it shows how 2 kids that are the main character grew up in the past couple of years. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird By Harper Lee She shows how Jem Finch has changed in the last 3 years. In the beginning of the book Jem finch is a childish kid who is very immature and does really care about anything but himself.

Examples Of Loss Of Innocence In To Kill A Mockingbird

When one grows up, it is inevitable they will lose their innocence. Seeing the world through rose colored glasses can only take one so far, and eventually they will have to open their eyes to real issues in their lives. While this happens at different ages for everyone, Atticus in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee believes that his kids should not be sheltered from the real world. As Scout and Jem, Atticus’ children, grow up, especially in a time where Maycomb is so segregated, Atticus teaches his kids real life lessons and to not become like the rest of their town; racist and judgemental. This comes with a cost, however, as the kids “grow up” at an expedited rate. Throughout the novel, Jem and Scout learn valuable life lessons

Coming Of Age Moment In To Kill A Mockingbird

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem and Scouts changing perspective of Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley represents a coming of age moment because it demonstrates a breaking away from the childlike imagination that had previously explained all of their questions and superstitions about the Radley’s. A coming-of-age moment is the transition of thinking that occurs when someone learns empathy. At the start of the novel, in many situations, Scout and Jem demonstrate childish behavior and thinking when Jem is taunted into touching the side of the Radley home by Scout and Dill. The book reads, “Jem threw open the gate and sped to the side of the house, slapped it with his palm and ran back past us” (18). From this portion of the novel we can tell that Jem and Scout clearly regarded the Radley home and its occupants with novelty and even fear. They knew very little about the Radleys and what they did know was simply rumours. This is an example of how their original perspective of the Radleys was. Later in the book we see an obvious change in Scouts thinking and a clear coming-of-age moment when we read “Atticus’s arrival was the second reason I wanted to quit the game. The first reason happened the day I rolled into the Radley front yard. Through all the head-shaking, quelling of nausea and Jem-yelling, I had heard another sound, so low I could not have heard it from the sidewalk. Someone inside the house was laughing” (54). Knowing that Scout at the start of the book viewed the Radleys as

How Is Jem Mature In To Kill A Mockingbird

Many philosophers say; “The most challenging part of growing up is letting go of what is comfortable, and moving on to something unknown.” This quote strongly applies to the maturity process of Jeremy “Jem” Finch, a lead character in Harper Lee’s award-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Jem struggles to understand his role in society as the picturesque facade of his sleepy southern town is destroyed, revealing the darkness underneath the surface. In this coming-of-age story amidst of a race war, Jem navigates the hardships of maturity. He is aided by the guidance of his father, who plays an integral role in the conflict of the small town as the court-appointed lawyer of an African-American man falsely accused of assaulting a white

Essay On Loss Of Innocence In To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird shows how Jem, Scout and Boo overcome their loss of innocence and overcome the struggles that Maycomb county and its people throw at them.

Theme Of Maturing In To Kill A Mockingbird

Maturing is something everyone goes through in life whether you go through it early or a little later in life. In the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee shows a lot about maturing. Growing up in a small town in Maycomb, Alabama where life was a lot more different from today, you mature much different and in different ways. Jem is one person who matures through the whole story and makes realizations about people around him, including his dad, Tom Robinson, and Mrs. Dubose.

Examples Of Jem's Maturation In To Kill A Mockingbird

Throughout the story Jem shows a huge amount of maturation. The book starts when Jem is about ten years of age and still acts like a young boy. He loves to play with his toys, make up games to play with Scout and Dill, go on adventures, and many more. As the story develops so does Jem. With each day that passes Jem seems to becoming more and more like his father. “ JEM WAS TWELVE. He was difficult to live with, inconsistent moody. His appetite was appalling, and he told me so many times to stop pestering him I consulted Atticus: ‘Reckon he’s got tapeworm?’ Atticus said no, Jem was growing” (pg 153). As Jem is dealing with more complicated issues, one being puberty, he is starting to grow up and develop a more

Scout Finch Coming Of Age Analysis

Harper Lee uses life lessons to show that Scouts coming of age. Scout says, “Atticus had said it was the polite thing to talk to people about what they were interested in, not about what you were interested in” (Lee 129). While Scout is saying this, she is talking to a group of men who are trying to kill Tom Robinson. This shows that even though this almost death scene is right in front of her, she doesn’t know what is happening is just trying to calm down the mood of everyone, and return the human to people but later realizes, when she is older, that she

How Does Jem Change In To Kill A Mockingbird

Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem and Scout 's perception of courage drastically changes their behavior as they mature. They learn a lot about courage throughout the novel from their father Atticus and what they learn from him influences their choices and opinions. Although Jem is older than Scout, they both experience change in their behavior. At the beginning of the novel, Jem is still a young boy. He is defiant towards Atticus, he plays all the usual childhood games with Scout and Dill, and he engages in the younger children’s obsession with Boo Radley. As the novel progresses, Jem becomes less defiant and more understanding of adults. Jem witnesses the physical and moral courage of his father before and during the trial of

Jem Coming Of Age Analysis

Coming of age is a process that comes once in everybody’s life. This process has many results such as gaining strength or getting clever. In the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, a young boy, named Jem, gains maturity, higher level thinking, and empathy skills when he matures. To reveal Jem’s transformation, Harper Lee crafts the story in a meticulous manner and uses purposeful passages and quotes. One such passage is on pages 301 to 304. In the beginning of their conversation, Jem consoles Scout after the incident with Aunt Alexandra. However, the passage mostly focuses on Jem’s conversation to Scout. They argue about society and meanings of difficult concepts such as background. Lee uses this academic argument to establish that Jem has changed from the beginning of the story when he was childish and brash. In the passage, Lee uses the literary elements of characterization, setting, and parallelism to show Jem’s coming of age.

Even Calpurnia notices that Jem is becoming a young man, and he needs his own space to do what older boys do. Scout doesn’t understand that Jem is going to go off on his own because its apart of growing up. n addition, even adults notice that Jem is evolving into a young man.

How Does Jem Mature In To Kill A Mockingbird

When he tells Scout about Boo Radley he uses his childish imagination to come up with a picture of Boo“ Boo was about six and a half feet tall, judging from his tracks: he dined on raw squirrels and any cat he could catch, that’s why his hands were bloodstained”(13). Jem uses his childish imagination to come up with an image for Boo. He guesses his height after seeing the track Dill showed him. He says that Boo eats raw squirrels and any cat he would catch and this is how any child would imagine a phantom. Later in the text, he show maturity when scout was going to kill the bug. Jem stops her “because they don’t bother you”(300). Here Jem shows maturity by stopping scout from killing the bug as the bug has don nothing to scout. Killing it would be like killing a Mockingbird. Since Jem has seen Tom Robinson unfairly lose the case, Jem doesn’t want anything like that to happen to anyone. By stopping scout from doing this injustice, he transform into a dynamic character. Jem was forced to mature after seeing the injustice in the

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A Theme of Innocence and Growing Up in to Kill a Mockingbird

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A+ Student Essay: Boo Radley's Role in Scout and Jem's Lives and Development

In To Kill a Mockingbird , children live in an inventive world where mysteries abound but little exists to actually cause them harm. Scout and Jem spend much of their time inventing stories about their reclusive neighbor Boo Radley, gleefully scaring themselves before rushing to the secure, calming presence of their father, Atticus. As the novel progresses, however, the imaginary threat that Boo Radley poses pales in comparison to the real dangers Jem and Scout encounter in the adult world. The siblings’ recognition of the difference between the two pushes them out of childhood and toward maturity—and as they make that transition, Boo Radley, their childhood bogeyman, helps serve as link between their past and their present.

The games and stories Jem and Scout create around Boo Radley depict him as a source of violence and danger. However, though these inventions seem designed to prove the children’s braveness and maturity, they paradoxically prove that Jem, Scout, and their friend Dill fundamentally remain children. Their stories are gruesome, and the thrill of their games—such as touching the side of Boo’s house—comes from the danger they imagine they would face if Boo were to catch them. However, the children are able to indulge in wild imaginings and take what they perceive as risky chances only because they feel completely safe in the care of Atticus, who protects them from a dark, dangerous world. The threatening, menacing Boo thus remains firmly entrenched in their childhood worldview, where adults are infallible and all-powerful.

When adult protection breaks down in the novel, Jem and Scout get their first taste of true danger, which is different from the imagined dangers they’d attributed to Boo Radley. The fire at Miss Maudie’s, Mrs. Dubose’s grisly death, and the violence and unrest that trails in the wake of the Tom Robinson case introduce real misfortune and anxiety into their lives. For the first time, adults are frightened and sad along with the children, and therefore cannot be counted on to provide security or refuge. Boo Radley, once such a threatening presence, now seems like a remnant of a more innocent time. The contrast between then and now seems all the more stark because Boo Radley remains in their lives, a constant reminder of how things had been before.

Faced with real dangers, Jem and Scout must tap into new levels of maturity in order to deal with tragedy, new social challenges, and increased familial expectations. As their relationship with Atticus and the larger adult community changes, their relationship with Boo changes as well. Once just a creepy, mostly abstract figure, Boo begins playing a more active role in the children’s lives, first by protecting Scout with a blanket during Miss Maudie’s fire and then by protecting Jem and Scout from an attack by Bob Ewell. Boo had been an integral part of Jem and Scout’s childhood, and, in the midst of their burgeoning adulthood, he serves as a link between their past and their present. Once an imagined enemy and a source of perceived danger, Boo transforms into a true friend and ally, helping them at crucial moments in their transition from childhood to maturity.

The children’s early perspective of “danger” centered on Boo Radley, and only by understanding the contrast between these imagined dangers and the real dangers of the adult world can they pass from childhood into adulthood. But the children’s shifting interactions with Boo points to another element of maturity as well: the capacity for empathy. Once simply an eccentric figure in the children’s games, Boo ultimately becomes a true human being to them—one who has endured more than his fair share of tragedy and deserves his fair share of honor, respect, and affection.

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To Kill a Mockingbird Growing Up

Jem thought he was being responsible during the tire incident because he took care of Scout. When Jem, Scout, and Dill are playing in the yard one day, Scout decides she wants to be pushed in the tire. As Scout and Dill are arguing over who will go first, Jem arbitrates, and awards Scout with the first push. Jem then accidentally rolls the tire into the Radley yard. Jem is frightened and says, gScout, get away from there, come on!h (37). This quote shows that Jem is taking on some responsibility for Scout. When he pushes her into the Radleyfs Yard, Jem feels angry about what Scout had said earlier, so he wants to get revenge. Yet, when Jem sees Scout lying on the ground he immediately feels worried and scared for her, and tries to get her to come to safety. As Jem grows up, he begins to develop new views on situations. Scoutfs situation during the tire incident reminds Jem that he needs to take on full responsibility of his sister.

Jem thought that the most mature way to express his feelings about Mrs. Dubose was to cut off all of her flowers. When Jem and Scout are returning home one day they walk pass Mrs. Dubosefs house. As they walk by her yard, Jem runs into her garden and cuts off all of her flowers because of what Mrs. Dubose said earlier about Atticus. Scout tells us that, gHe did not begin to calm down until he had cut the tops off every camellia bush Mrs. Dubose owned, until the ground was littered with green buds and leaves. He bent my baton against his kneech (103). This quote shows that Jem was feeling very hurt by what Mrs. Dubose had said about his father. To Jem, Atticus seems feeble and old, so, when threatened, Jem feels it is his responsibility to protect him. In the book, when Mrs. Dubose talks about Atticus, Jem just ignores her and walks away, but finally he decides to get revenge. He does this by, glittering the ground with green buds and leaves.h Jem tries to hurt something Mrs. Dubose loves like she attacked Atticus. Mrs. Dubosefs harsh words make Jem feel that it is his job to defend Atticus.

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As To Kill a Mockingbird progresses, Jem takes definitive steps toward maturity with his actions in the tire and flower incidents, for example. He would later go on to repair the flowerbed he destroyed, and take greater care to protect Scout. Through his actions, we can see Jem develop a sense of morals and responsibility that would prove to be a lifesaver.

scout and Jem Finch are growing up in the tired old Alabama town of Maycomb. Their father, Atticus, is the local lawyer and as a single parent tries to raise his children with honor and respect to their individualism. With the Depression on times are hard, and there is no money to be found anywhere in town.

To amuse themselves Scout, Jem, and their best friend Dill begin a relentless campaign during their summertimes to get Boo Radley, their reclusive, legendary neighbor, to come out of his house. They concoct endless schemes and even go so far as to create a play that details Boo's life. Atticus forbids them to have anything to do with Mr. Radley, urging them to let the poor man be.

Atticus is a good man, and one day takes on a case that affects him personally. A black man, Tom Robinson, is accused of beating and raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. Most of the county is convinced immediately that Tom is guilty of the crime, and begin to look at Atticus in a very negative way for actually defending him and trying to do right by him. Scout and Jem begin to get tormented over their father at school, and Atticus begs them not to get riled up over the town's prejudice.

As the trial begins it becomes apparent to Scout and Jem that there is no way that Tom Robinson could have beaten and raped Mayelle Ewell, as he'??s a cripple. Atticus proves that to the jury, and Scout and Jem are astonished when Tom is slapped with a guilty verdict anyway. They begin to realize that many people in town are very prejudiced against blacks, and their hearts are saddened by it. It'?s hard for them to understand how people can be so mean to each other, and they both begin to see that, even in court where things are supposed to be unbiased, men's hearts bring in their own hatreds.

It isn't much longer that Tom is shot and killed for trying to escape while in prison. Jem especially takes the whole affair hard, and it takes him a long time to come to grips with the jury's decision, and Tom's death.

After the trial has died down Bob Ewell, Mayelle's father, begins threatening Atticus for embarrassing him in court, and resolves that he'll get him back one way or another. Atticus is convinced that he's all talk, and passes it off as such.

Time crawls past, and finally Bob Ewell is good to his word and attacks the children Halloween night with a knife. He breaks Jem's arm and almost kills Scout, but Boo Radley, of all people, comes to their rescue and saves them. The sheriff, Heck Tate, hushes the whole thing over so Boo Radley will not be dragged into the spotlight, and Scout is thrilled to finally get to meet the man they for so long fantasized about. As she walks him back home, she realizes that all this time he was watching them from his front porch windows, and just for a little while she is able to stand in his shoes.

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To Kill a Mockingbird – Jem Analysis


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In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee shows the characteristics of the Jeremy Finch through his younger sister and narrator, Scout Finch. Jem is a young boy growing up in the 1930’s deep south of America. Throughout the text Scout sees Jem display characteristics similar to Atticus that contradict common society, his maturation into a young man and his continuing childish perspective.

One characteristic shown of Jem Finch that is similar to Atticus is his ability to empathize or “….climb into their skin and walk around in it.” (pg 31). During the novel Jem develops a high level of emotional intelligence that allows him to understand the situation of others, as well as what they may be thinking or possible the way they will act. The reader first discovers this characteristic about Jem when he stops Scout from bashing up Walter Cunningham in the schoolyard and invites him over for dinner. Walter and the other Cunningham’s are folk that are honest but extremely poor. They don’t take anything they can not pay back or equal with something they already possess “I [Scout] stomped at him [Walter] to chase him away, but Jem put out his hand and stopped me.” (pg 24). Jem stops Scout bashing Walter because he knows the ordeals he and his family face.

To make up for Scout, Jem invites Walter over for dinner because Jem knows Walter is lucky to get a proper meal a day. Another example of where Jem shows empathy is with the character of Mrs. Dubose. Mrs. Dubose is an old, morphine addicted; wheelchair-bound lady who has a habit of publicly abusing Atticus in front of Jem and Scout. One day Jem gets angry and smashes her flowers; which he then has to repay by reading to her. About 1 month after he completes his reading duties, Mrs. Dubose dies and Jem feels empathy for her when Atticus explains how she died. “….Mrs. Dubose was a morphine addict. She took it as a pain killer for years…..She said she meant to break herself of it before she died, and that’s what she did.” (pg 120).

Jem feels empathy for Mrs. Dubose’s pain and wanted her to die happy and liberated, even though he hated almost everything about her. “Did she die free?” (pg 121). A later example of Jem’s attained ability to empathize is with Tom Robinson. During Tom Robinson’s trial Jem is tense and nervous with anticipation; although by the end of te trial he is convinced Atticus and Tom will win. But when the verdict goes against Tom, Jem feels instant and uncontrollable empathy for Tom and believes the system is wrong. “….don’t fret [to Reverend Sykes] we’ve won it [Jem]….. It ain’t right Atticus…..” (pg 231). Jem’s ability to empathize and understand others and their position is one of the crucial characteristics that make Jem, a major character in To Kill A Mockingbird.

Throughout the events that occur in To Kill A Mockingbird the reader sees Jem develop from a young boy into a young man because of his maturation. During the novel there are several significant points were Jem matures or grows up. The first is when Jem, Dill and Scout attempt to take a peak inside the Radley lot but are shot at by Mr. Nathan Radley. When Jem later reflects on what happened he realized that they could have died tonight all for the sake of getting a look at Boo Radley. “We shouldn’a done that tonight, Scout” (pg 61). This shows that Jem has grow up and realized the risk he took and has thought about what might have happened and the consequences of his actions. A second event which is symbolizes Jem’s maturation is when the Finch family (including Aunt Alexandra, Francis etc.) have dinner and Jem is allowed to sit at the adult table. This shows that he has been recognized by his family as growing up into an adult – one of them. “Jem and Francis had sat at the big table for a while now…..” (pg __).

Scout reflects that Jem has been considered a young man or adult in the eyes of Aunt Alexandra for quite some time, proving that the family believes that he has the maturity to behave like a civilized human being. The final example of Jem’s continued maturation in the novel is when Mrs. Maudies house catches on fire. Everyone from the neighbouring houses rushes out to help Mrs. Maudie leaving Jem to care for Scout. Atticus entrusts Jem enough to believe that Scout will be well taken care of in the hands of Jem. “….go down and stand in front of the Radley place….. Do as I tell you. Run now. Take care of Scout you hear?” (pg 75). Atticus’ simple command of “Take care of Scout” means that Atticus believes Jem is old, mature and smart enough to look after himself and his younger sister in a time when nobody else will be able to look out for them. Through these examples Jem is recognized to be maturing into an adult by his family, in the eyes of Atticus and Scout and to himself as seen in To Kill A Mockingbird

Through Jeremy Finch, Harper Lee also portrays the characteristic of childishness, innocence or inexperience. Although Jem develops throughout the actions that take place in To Kill A Mockingbird he still possess a quality of innocence and inexperience. Jem’s childish behavior is greatly expressed in his obsession with Arthur (Boo) Radley. Jem invents a game based of the Radley family as a joke with Dill and Scout (although she opposes the game) to play during the summer holidays. “I know what we are going to play. Something new, something different. [Jem] What? [Dill] Boo Radley [Jem]” (pg 41). This portrays Jem openly expressing his obsession with a human being in the form of a mindless and childish game that is sure to cause speculation from the Maycomb residences. Another instance where Jem highlights his inexperience or childishness is again an incident involving Boo Radley. When Jem and Dill go through the phase where they are completely and utterly obsessed with Boo they attempt to take a peak inside the shutter to “get a look at” Boo Radley.

“Dill and Jem were simply going to peep in the window with the loose shutter to see if they could get a look at Boo Radley….” (pg 56) This again shows Jem’s immaturity and inexperience because he hasn’t considered the consequences of getting court or if something goes wrong. He is also in denial that Atticus knows what they’re up to and that they are doing anything wrong. When Dill arrives in Maycomb at the start of the summer holidays he creates conflict between Jem and Scout over “Hot Steams”. According to Jem a hot steam is “….somebody who can’t get to heaven, just wallows around on lonesome roads and if you walk through him, when you die you become one too.” (pg 39 – 40) This superstitious voodoo belief is supposed to be “nigger-talk” but in Jem’s mind they are real legends. This is because he is inexperienced and has not fully matured as yet. So Jem’s immaturity, inexperience, innocence and childishness are ever present during the early stages of the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee uses the character of Jem in the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, to show a young boys ability to learn complex human emotions, the process of a boy becoming a man in the 1930’s deep south and how everyone has a childish charm about them. Harper Lee wants to influence the readers in a positive way by having Jem display adult like characteristics while still being able to connect with children.

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  1. To Kill a Mockingbird: Jem Finch | Character Analysis | Study ...

    Jem ages from 10 to 13 over the course of To Kill a Mockingbird, a period of great change in any child's life. Jem is no exception to this rule. Interestingly, the changes he undergoes are seen from the point-of-view of a younger sister, which gives a unique perspective on his growth.

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    Growing Up Theme Analysis Courage Themes and Colors LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in To Kill a Mockingbird, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Over the course of the novel’s three years, Scout, Dill, and Jem grow up both physically and mentally.

  3. Essay On Jem Growing Up In To Kill A Mockingbird

    In the book To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, we see Jem Finch grow up from a young, ornery boy to a now mature and intelligent young man. There are many changes that occur with him and many events that happen to help him mature.

  4. How Does Jem Grow Up In To Kill A Mockingbird - StudyMode

    As Jem grows up, he begins to face many challenges and learns to take responsibility. Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem ages from ten to thirteen. He goes through the same issues as adults in the Maycomb community do and in time he begins to understand the lesson that is to be learned.

  5. Who Is Jem Growing Up In To Kill A Mockingbird |

    In To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Jem grows from a little boy to an intelligent young man. Throughout the book, he discerns many things that shape his personality. As Jem grows, he learns how bad society is and that not everyone is perfect. Fortunately for Jem, this ends up helping him and he finds out that Atticus is a hero and that he ...

  6. A Theme of Innocence and Growing Up in to Kill a Mockingbird

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is the unforgettable novel of a child’s story growing up in a sleepy, Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it. The novel takes readers through the many emotions of a [...] Different Examples of "Freedom is Never Given it Must be Demanded" in Books Essay

  7. To Kill a Mockingbird: A+ Student Essay: Boo ... - SparkNotes

    In To Kill a Mockingbird, children live in an inventive world where mysteries abound but little exists to actually cause them harm. Scout and Jem spend much of their time inventing stories about their reclusive neighbor Boo Radley, gleefully scaring themselves before rushing to the secure, calming presence of their father, Atticus.

  8. To Kill A Mockingbird Growing Up Essay Example -

    As Jem grows up, he begins to develop new views on situations. Scout fs situation during the tire incident reminds Jem that he needs to take on full responsibility of his sister. Jem thought that the most mature way to express his feelings about Mrs. Dubose was to cut off all of her flowers.

  9. To Kill a Mockingbird - Jem Analysis |

    In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee shows the characteristics of the Jeremy Finch through his younger sister and narrator, Scout Finch. Jem is a young boy growing up in the 1930’s deep south of America. Throughout the text Scout sees Jem display characteristics similar to Atticus that contradict common society, his maturation into a ...