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To Kill a Mockingbird

By mclemesh Aug 22, 2013 886 Words
To Kill a Mockingbird
How does Jem and Scout change during the course of the novel? How do they stay the same?

Through the perspectives of Jem and Scout Finch, the world’s famous classic, Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, explores adults’ discrimination towards race and colour, as Atticus Finch defends a Negro. Caught in the midst of it all, his children were forced to experience the severe consequences. Reluctant at first, Jem and Scout took everything to heart, but over a period of time, they gradually learnt to tolerate it as they grow into maturity.

Throughout the novel, Jem Finch had transformed from an impulsive, mischievous boy into a responsible, thoughtful grown up. “No’, said Miss Stephanie. “Shot in the air. Scared him pale though. Says if anybody sees… swiftly in front of Jem. “Yawl, write, hear?” he bawled after us.’ (pp.60 – 61) In the first part of the novel, Jem was almost caught for spying on his neighbors. This was a very foolish act from Jem as he should have known better than to infiltrate someone else’s property. But in the second half the novel, Jem seems to have evolved immensely. “You oughta let your mother know where you are”, said Jem. “You oughta let your mother know you’re… without your mother knowing’.” (pp. 155 – 156). Jem has good potential in notifying Atticus of Dill’s arrival. Even though, it meant betraying his friend’s loyalty, Jem had made the right decision. Jem’s rapid development had introduced him to the injustice of the adult world.

Although, Jem had made a miraculous transition, Scout had her own story. “Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope... He didn’t mind me much the way I do”. (p. 90) Aunt Alexandra was concerned about Scout physically and mentally. She thinks Scout should dress and behave more in a ladylike way, even though Scout was just satisfied with the way she was. With this in mind, Aunt Alexandra decided to lend a hand. “Jem’s growing up now and you are too”, she said to me.” We decided that it would be best for to have some feminine influence.” (p.140) Aunt Alexandra was coming to live with Jem and Scout, in the hopes of having an impact on Scout. However, it was not until the very end that Scout actually benefited from her aunt’s stay. “Mr. Arthur, bend your arm down here, like that. That’s right… escorting me down the sidewalk, as any gentleman would.” (p.306) Scout had put her ladylike skills into practice by the way she had helped Boo Radley act like a gentleman. Consequently it was under Aunt Alexandra’s influence that Scout was able to successfully become a lady.

Despite the fact that Jem and Scout both have to deal with their own dilemma, they always look out for one another. ‘When Jem came home he asked me where I got such a wad. I told him I found it… You’ll get killed if you do!” (p. 37) Jem was very vigilant of his Scout, he is always worried about her safety and wellbeing. Being the youngest, Scout is often causing a lot of chaos. Though in a similar way, Scout always came to Jem’s defense. “I’ll send him home”, a burly man said, and grabbed Jem roughly by the collar. He yanked Jem nearly.. nobody gonna do Jem that way,” I said.’ (p.168) Scout is very protective of her brother. She doesn’t like to see him hurt or harmed by strangers. This emphasizes that Jem and Scout care a lot about each other and will always be there for each other. Jem and Scout’s inseparable siblings bond had helped each other though difficult times.

Apart from their close connection, Jem and Scout’s relationship with Atticus is very strong. ‘With this in mind, I faced Cecil Jacobs in the school yard the next day. “You gonna take that back, boy?”… I would let Atticus down.’ With her pride at stake, Scout was about to get into another fight, but then refrained at the last minute and thought about Atticus. She knew if she continued Atticus would be very disappointed and sad. This encapsulates Scout’s faithfulness to her father; she wanted him to be proud of her. Alternatively, Jem cares for Atticus in a slightly different manner. “Scout, try to not antagonize Aunt, hear?” Atticus’ remarks were still rankling, which made me miss the request in Jem’s question. My… now for my edification and instruction.’ (pp. 151 – 152) This demonstrates Jem’s consideration and love for Atticus. Jem really worries about Atticus and so he tells Scout to not disturb him. Jem is aware of what Atticus is going through and doesn’t want Scout, on top of it all, to cause him more distress. Jem and Scout, each express their affection for Atticus in different ways, Jem cares for Atticus through the approach of understanding his situation, whereas Scout would listen and follow Atticus’ instructions.

It is therefore evidence that Jem and Scout had adapted to many obstacles as they grown into maturity. Without the support from each other, they would not have made it through. From an impulsive boy and a tomboyish girl, Jem and Scout had materialized into a responsible grown up boy and a lady.

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