Change in Jem

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The Change of Jem

People often view mistakes as a negative thing, but what people often ignore is the positive effect it has on a person’s personality and helps them improve as a person. In Harper Lee’s bildungsroman To Kill a Mockingbird, a young boy named Jem Finch undergoes a change in both personality and maturity. In this novel, at first Jem is unaware of the world around him, but because of Tom Robinson’s trial and his obsession with Boo Radley, he becomes mature and understanding.

Jem’s interest in Boo Radley is sparked by simple rumors and gossip, but transforms into sorrow and understanding. Curious about Boo Radley, Jem attempts to sneak into the Radley’s house, but hesitates when, “the roar of a shotgun shattered the neighborhood… found him struggling in the fence, kicking his pants off to get loose.” Upon realizing the threat of suspicion, he returns to the Radley yard in an attempt to retrieve his pants. He returns to find his pants folded across the fence. In addition, Jem discovers Boo’s gifts hidden in the tree’s knot-hole, but to his surprise, he discovers shortly after that “someone had filled [their] knot-hole with cement.” The lost connection between Jem and Boo due to the filling of the knott-hole causes Jem to undergo suffering. Jem reaches the conclusion that Boo Radley is held inside his home against his own will. Although Jem’s experiences with Boo help shape his maturity and understanding of the world, his experiences while watching the Tom Robinson case plays an important role in Jem’s maturity.

Jem’s unawareness of others’ evil originally gives him an optimistic view, but by the verdict, he realizes the prejudice present in Maycomb. As he watches the case, Jem assures Scout “just gone over the evidence,’ Jem whispered, ‘and we’re gonna win, Scout. I don’t see how we can’t. He’s been at it ‘bout five minutes.” This shows Jem’s optimistic views and trust he has in Maycomb to do what is right. Jem does not understand the evil...
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