How Jem Matures over Tkam
Essay Preview: How Jem Matures over Tkam
Report this essay
Hey! Guess What! Jem Grows Up!
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 fathers footsteps, and gets much of his knowledge from him.
Jems 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 persons been prosecuted, Atticus decides, as a lawyer, to defend that person. Atticus chose to defend Tom Robinson, an African American, because its 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 its not encouraged. Jem also learns a different kind of courage after learning about Mrs. Duboses fight with a morphine addiction. Jem and Scout disliked Mrs. Dubose because she was quite a mean person. Later, they were glad they didnt 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 Its when you know youre licked before you begin but you begin anyway According to [Mrs. Duboses] views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew. (pg 112)” This is similar to Atticuss choice to defend Tom. Mrs. Dubose knew she wouldnt 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 Jems turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our