Innocent to Experience: Jem’s Courage Definition
To Kill a Mockingbird
Courage cannot be defined with simple words but rather by an individual’s actions. Despite many different definitions courage is someone’s internal fortitude to do something that may frighten others. In To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Jem’s definition of courage changes from the beginning to the end of the book. At the beginning of the book Jem’s definition of courage is from an innocent perspective and by the end of the book Jem has an experienced definition of courage. Jem learns the real definition of courage from it being demonstrated in his everyday life in Macomb. At the beginning of Harper Lee’s ,To Kill a Mockingbird Jem shows a naïve, innocent view of courage because of his fears. Dill dears Jem to touch the Radley house, which has always been one of his worst fears. Jem displays courage by touching the Radley’s and hides his angst when reporting back to Dill and Scout. Jem dreads touching the Radley house only because of his scary childlike imagination. Lee writes,“Jem threw open the gate and sped to the side of the house, slapped it with is palm and ran back past us”(118). Jem’s courage comes into play when he is told to do something he terrifies by his peers. Jem continues to demonstrate an innocent perspective of courage in the early part of the novel.
Jem still has an inexperienced view of courage because he is still at a youth and is immature to his surroundings. Jem’s youthful imagination forms ideas to get in contact with the horrifying Boo Radley. He decides to put a note on a fishing pole and stick it threw the Radley window. The note was asking Boo out
for ice cream, so the children can meet him. Harper Lee says, “Were asking him real politely to come out sometimes, and tell us what he does in there – we said we wouldn’t hurt him and we’d buy him an ice cream” (62). Jem’s...
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