Jem in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird

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To Kill A Mockingbird - Jem

Is it possible to shed innocence without losing hope? In the book To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, a 10-year-old boy named Jem proves that it just may be so. Throughout the novel, Jem, the brother of Scout, is trying to comprehend in his own mind the darker aspects of human nature. Within the small Southern town he lives in, Jem battles with racism, justice, bravery. It is not until the end of the novel does Jem better understand the world, and is one step closer to becoming a grown man.

One of the incidences of the novel in which Jem reacts to racism is with Mrs. Dubose's white azaleas. The white azaleas can be interpreted as representing racism on behalf of the whites, hence the color. Jem attacks the azaleas, hinting that metaphorically, he is in combat against racism. Mrs. Dubose, being racist, is a prime figure of one with a closed mind, in which Jem is also against

"Thought you could kill my Snow-on-the-Mountain, did you?

Well Jessie says the top's growing back out. Next time you'll

know how to do it right, won't you? You'll pull it up by the

root's, won't you?" (110, Mrs. Dubose)

Although he did ruin the azaleas, he was made to grow them back. This shows that racism can not be changed with rash actions, that it is much more deep rooted. Jem, in this incident and previously, was still naïve. Whenever Scout questions Jem on the issue of racism, he becomes moody, which is partially the result of his trying to understand the controversial issue. Later on, he starts to become more aware of how people act, and that their views are much different from his own.

Justice, by definition, means fairness. In the case of Tom Robinson, whom Jem's father (Atticus) is defending, fairness is a boon that is not to be granted. Jem is devastated after realizing that justice does not always prevail. After Jem sees Tom be destroyed completely inequitably, he begins to question the ways of humanity.

"...If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each


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