Analyze Jem's inability to discuss anything to do with the courthouse in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The mere thought or mention of the courthouse brings up Jem's bad memories of the Tom Robinson trial: The unfair jury verdict, Atticus's unsuccessful defense, and Tom's eventual death. At the end of Chapter 26, Jem goes from being the kind and helpful brother who is willing to drop what he is doing to answer Scout's question to, at a moment's notice, being

... suddenly furious. He leaped off the bed, grabbed me by the collar and shook me.

Scout did not seem to understand Jem's actions, so she sought out Atticus. Her father explained that Jem was just trying to forget, but the wise Atticus saw something else in his son. According to Atticus,

... what he was really doing was storing it away for a while, until enough time passed. Then he would be able to think about it and sort things out. When he was able to think about it, Jem would be himself again.


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