Jem and Scout's Coming of Age in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
It was during the trial itself that Scout and Jem were exposed to the cruel deformation of the justice system, a justice system corrupted by racism. Since Scout and Jem were young, they’ve always been exposed to a fair form of justice system in Maycomb. This is not surprising since their father Atticus has strong morals. Atticus holds judicial power as head of the Finch household, and is, as Scout says to Uncle Jack, fair to both sides. So, all in all, Scout and Jem’s exposure to justice was their father while they were growing up. They were shown a fair justice system, and they projected that belief, that justice is always fair and equal for everyone, onto the justice system of Maycomb County.
However, the hard truth is brutal. As Atticus says, “when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins.” In the Tom Robinson trial, Atticus had seemed to give substantial evidence for Tom’s innocence, however the verdict inevitably ended up being ‘guilty’. Atticus claims that everyone is not created equal, but the one place every man should be treated equally is in the courtroom, and sadly it is not so. Then, Atticus tells them that the older they get, the more they’ll see of it. He says again that every man should get treated fairly in the courtroom, but people have a way of carrying their resentments in with them. Jem says in a moment of wisdom that if there was only one kind of folks, why can’t everyone just get along?
All together, the events leading up to and after the Tom Robinson trial, and the trial itself, was a major part of Scout and Jem’s coming of age. They are presented a bitter truth of the world they live in, the truth that the justice system can be corrupted by