One of the most important and prominent characters in To Kill A Mockingbird is Scout’s older brother, Jeremy Atticus Finch, more commonly referred to as Jem Finch. Jem is precisely four years older than Scout (Jem ages from 10 to 13 throughout the novel), asserting him as the superior individual, although early on Jem and Scout are playmates, along with their friend Dill in the summertime. Unlike Scout, Jem is also old enough to remember his and Scout’s mother who had died when Scout was only two. In one sense Jem is your stereotypical boy, reading football magazines and spending most of his time tracking the “the vital statistics of every college football player in the nation” (Lee 147). However, Jem proves to be peculiar with characteristics both Jem and Scout inherited from their father Atticus. Jem frequently reads other things besides magazines, such as the newspaper, as well as books, with his favorite being The Gray Ghost. Jem believes strongly in what is just, as becomes apparent later on with Tom Robinson 's trial. Since Jem is into adolescence by the time the story ends he is undergoing many changes, while at the same time learning crucial lessons about Maycomb and the people that live in it.
Jem’s personality is one that is constantly changing over time, sometimes out of simply growing up, and other times as a response to certain events, such as the death of Mrs.Dubose. Atticus had forced Jem to read to Mrs.Dubose not only as a punishment for destroying her camellia bushes, but also so Jem could “see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand”, a belief that Jem held for a long time (Lee 149). Courage and bravery is something that Jem expresses from the beginning to...
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...imonies. Good morals are often taught to Jem and Scout by Atticus, most importantly being “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view” (Lee 39). Seeing things from someone else’s point of view is critical for understanding not only the person, but also the things that person has done, and why they did those things as well. Had Jem and Scout not understood this they would not have been able to figure out things like why Boo Radley never leaves the house, or why Miss Caroline didn’t know that Walter didn’t have lunch because he is a Cunningham.
While the things Jem had to learn very quickly would be difficult for anyone, it was particularly hard for Jem as he entered adolescence. The added trauma of being seriously injured by Bob Ewell also likely have a major impact on Jem’s mind regarding how he differentiates good and bad.
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