Scout and Jem's Newfound Maturity
Harper Lee's prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird describes the life experiences of Scout and Jem Finch in the small county of Maycomb. A series of events shake their innocence free to give way to newfound maturity. Lee demonstrates how Jem grows up to be more like his father and learns about the harsh injustice in the world, while Scout grows to have a better understanding of the people in Maycomb as well as understanding her social role in society. As the Finch kids mature, so do the people around them.
Jem undergoes many changes throughout the novel, turning him from a child to a responsible young man. When the story first begins, Jem's definition of bravery was to simply go up and touch the Radley porch just because Dill dared him to, and "In all his life, Jem had never declined a dare."(Lee,
11). However, Jem soon discovers from Atticus that true bravery is when you stand up for what you believe in and "simply because [you] were licked a hundred years before [you] started is no reason for [you] not to try to win."(Lee, 69). This statement inspires Jem to even go as far as defy Atticus and not go home when the lynch mob confronted Atticus. Jem also experiences the injustice and unfairness present in the world as he watched Tom Robinson's trial come to a verdict. "It was Jem's turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our way through the cheerful crowd."(Lee, 193). Jem's initial impression of Boo Radley was rather ridiculous, "Boo was about six-and- a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that's why his hands were bloodstained."(Lee, 10). Jem believed the...