Jem's Maturing in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
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Jem's Maturing in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
When children grow up, they face difficult problems, and. they learn to cope and take responsibility. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a flashback about two kids that spans over a few years. Jem ages from ten to thirteen over the course of the novel, and undergoes much change, as his sister describes him. Over the years, he is exposed to issues adults face, and eventually shows an understanding of racism and innocence. As Jem grows up, his view on courage also changes. Jem follows his father's footsteps, and gets much of his knowledge from him.
Jem's definition of bravery changes as he grows up; he gains insight and experience of the world around him. At the beginning of the story, Jem only thought of bravery as touching the side of the Radley house, only because "in all his life, [he] had never declined a dare. (pg 13)" However, as the story continues, Jem learns about courage from several events. Upon hearing about a trial where a black person's been prosecuted, Atticus decides, as a lawyer, to defend that person. Atticus chose to defend Tom Robinson, an African American, because it's the right thing to do, and no one else wanted to ,or had the bravery to. "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win, (pg 76)" he said to Scout and Jem when Scout asked. Atticus was courageous for doing something just, even though it's not encouraged. Jem also learns a different kind of courage after learning about Mrs. Dubose's fight with a morphine addiction. Jem and Scout disliked Mrs. Dubose because she was quite a mean person. Later, they were glad they didn't have to read to her anymore. Atticus told Jem that Mrs. Dubose simply had her own views on things, and that her fits were from her addiction. Atticus made Jem read to her and explained, "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway According to [Mrs. Dubose's] views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew. (pg 112)" This is similar to Atticus's choice to defend Tom.
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Harper Lee Mrs. Dubose Mockingbird African American Tom Robinson Fight Bravery Footsteps
Mrs. Dubose knew she wouldn't live, but she fought the addiction anyway. These events changed the way Jem thought of courage, more than just touching the side of the Radley house.
Throughout the book, Jem also learns about the nature of people and evil. For a while, Jem and Scout have been finding gifts in the knothole of a tree, and they decide to write a thank-you note and leave it in the tree. On the day he and Scout choose to leave the note, he finds out, however, that someone had plugged the knothole with cement. The tree was still alive and healthy. "[Jem] stood there until nightfall and I waited for him," Says Scout. "When we went in the house, I saw he had been crying; his face was dirty in the right places, but I thought it odd that I had not heard him. (pg 63)" Jem realizes that Boo Radley had been sending the gifts; Jem understands Nathan Radley cemented the tree to keep Boo shut up in the house, and now knows how cruel people can be. Also, after the jury decided Tom was guilty despite no evidence of the occurrence, Jem once again cries, angry at the justice system. "It was Jem's turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our way through the cheerful crowd. It ain't right,' he muttered It ain't right, Atticus,' said Jem. No son, it's not right' (pg 212)" Jem is unable to accept the jury's conviction because it was unjust. The jury, ignoring any evidence (or lack of evidence) shown, votes not to take the word of a black man over the word of a white man and declares Tom guilty and thoroughly upsets Jem. Jem realizes how unkind and prejudiced people can be.
Lastly, as Jem matures, he follows his father's footsteps and acts maturely even though his peers might look down on him. Eventually, Jem understands the concept of mockingbirds and the harmless mockingbirds in life. " You oughta let your mother know where you are,' said Jem. You oughta let her know you're here. . . .' Dill's eye's flickered at Jem, and Jem looked at the floor. Then he rose and broke the remaining code of [the kids'] childhood. He went out of the room and down the hall. Atticus,' his voice was distant, can you come here a minute, sir?' (pg 141)" Jem, instead of keeping Dill's runaway a secret, tells Atticus. Jem was trying to do the right thing, even though he was somewhat reluctant and knew Dill and Scout might despise him for it. Jem also gains an understanding of the mockingbirds in the story. He shows it one day when he and Scout were in their room and Scout notices a roly-poly. Scout toys with it for a little while, then tries to squish it, when Jem stops her. " Why couldn't I mash him?' [Scout] asked. Because they don't bother you,' Jem answered in the darkness. He had turned out the reading light. (pg 238)" Jem stops Scout because he knows the roly-poly didn't hurt her. It's weaker than her, and squashing it would be like killing a mockingbird, a harmless creature. These two passages prove that Jem's trying to act responsible and reasonable like Atticus.
As Jem aged, he learned about cruelty, racism and prejudice. He gained knowledge about responsibility and respect he learned from his father. Jem's growth indicates how children mature and discover problems they have to face. Even though the issues differ a little from 1930 to now, kids today still cope with problems when they're around Jem's age.
To Kill a Mockingbird Essay
We all grow up after a while. It’s just a part of life and maturing. This book is all about kids maturing and learning life lessons to learn more of the world and the way society works. They find it hard at first and don’t understand certain things and why people act the way they do. Sometimes, they will go to investigate something they saw and that can either give them clarity or give them more questions. A lot of the time these investigations have consequences as well but I guess that’s how kids learn what is good and what isn’t. To Kill a Mockingbird is about two kids, Jem and Scout Finch. Their Dad’s name is Atticus Finch, a lawyer defending a black man accused of raping a young white girl. Due to this, the whole family is resented and out-casted in the town. I will be talking specifically about Jem and the way that he matures over time by things that happen to him, things he hears and see’s and consequences he has to do. Throughout the book you experience Jem’s journey through maturity and you see how he learns about how the world works at that time such as: when they want to go see Atticus defending Tom Robinson in the court case.
They don’t think that the court case will go how it does, with everyone being so easily swayed even though Atticus has made clear evidence that Tom is innocent. The children are both really surprised at the outcome and the way that that people treat Tom, such as how Mr Gilmer speaks to Tom during the court case. He is so disrespectful and rude to him that it makes Dill feel sick and cry, so much so that they have to leave the courtroom. (– Page 219 – ) You also see that as Jem matures his view on many things change as he learns how things actually are instead of what he thought they were originally. One example of this is in chapter 10 when his views about his father, Atticus, change. Originally, in the first few chapters, Scout and Jem described Atticus as a man who never does “anything that could arouse the admiration of anyone”. (pg. 102) This view changes for Jem especially in chapter 10 when Atticus shoots the mad dog and impresses Jem with his shooting skills and the fact he saves the town from the dog. Another big example of Jem’s growth as he learns is in relation to Boo Radley. In the beginning of the book, it talks a lot about the whole “Boo Radley is Mad” myth.
The children get extremely frightened of him as they hear more and more about him and their imaginations get the better of them. They get more and more curious as time goes on, trying things like sneaking up to his door and knocking it or sneaking into his backyard and looking inside his back windows. But as the book progresses and they get more and more curious of Boo and do riskier and riskier things, they find out he isn’t actually that bad at all. When Jem sneaks into Boo’s backyard, his pants get caught on the fence. He goes back for them afterward and finds them stitched up and folded over the fence. That is the first time he has different thoughts about Boo and thinks that maybe he isn’t what people say. More and more evidence about Boo Radley appear over time such as, he leaves toys and other objects for them in a hole in one of the trees on their street. Jem and scout both start to have different ideas on him and even start to like him. Their opinion of him get fully confirmed when he saves Scout with the help of Jem. This shows Jem maturing in 2 ways: he saves Scout without even hesitating and that shows courage and fearlessness which he didn’t have in the first place. Also, he shows maturity by becoming more open-minded (unlike many other people in the town who are very much “close minded” people) about Boo and discovering his true side and he is actually not like people say. Overall, Jem’s maturity is very distinct and you follow his journey as he learns more and more about how to treat people, how the world works and learns different things from his mistakes. He learns how to act in certain situations, not to judge people by what others say and how to have his own opinion on subjects and not to be swayed by others.