Essay on How does Scout and Jem mature during the novel?

Essay on How does Scout and Jem mature during the novel?

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How does Scout and Jem mature during the novel?

Jem is the older child and therefore matures much faster than Scout.
At the beginning of the story, we see Jem as a boy of childish
thoughts and behaviour. He invents games and amuses himself with the
Boo Radley's mystery. He believes that Boo is "chained to his bed" and
his description of Boo is that of a child’s. His childishness is
clearly revealed when he carries out the dare of touching Boo's house.
He also shows this when he tramples on Mrs Dubose's flowers because
she has called Atticus awful names like "nigger-lover".

However as the story progresses Jem gradually outgrows his
childishness and this is shown by various events in the novel. Being
four years older than Scout, he is beginning to be aware of the age
gap between them. For example he has to be bribed by Atticus to take
Scout on her first day of school. He is also careful to explain that
during school hours Scout was to leave him alone. He becomes critical
in his attitude towards her as a girl and when Dill stays in Maycomb
he excludes Scout from their activities. He now tells her, "It's time
you started bein' a girl and acting right".

Jem is growing up all the time. This can be seen when he stops Scout
from embarrassing Dill by asking about his family life. Jem later
decides to write a thank you note for the gifts Boo leaves in the tree
trunk and is upset when the knothole is cemented up. although he takes
care to cry about it in private.

Jem also involves himself closely in the trial, he understands most
of the arguments. When Tom is found guilty, he appears to be let down.
This is part of the experience of growing up. He tells Scout sadly, "I
think I'm beginning to understand why B...


... middle of paper ...


...st advance in her relationship with her aunt occurs at a
missionary circle gathering when news is brought of Tom Robinson's
death and Scout thinks that, "If Aunty could be a lady at a time like
this, so could I." Scout has realised that ladylike behaviour can be
more than a superficial facade; it can demonstrate strength of
character.

Finally Scout's ability to be a lady is longer doubted when one sees
the kindness she extends to Boo once he has saved herself and Jem from
Bob Ewell. She understands from Boo's little actions and gestures that
he wants to see Jem again before he leaves. She also retains his
dignity on the way home by making sure that he appears to be leading
her rather than the other way round. Scout expresses regret that "we
had never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given
him nothing". This shows her maturity again.

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