Homework Help

In Chapter 21 of "To Kill a Mockingbird", how would you describe Jem's reaction to the...

user profile pic

black | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 30, 2007 at 2:42 PM via web

dislike 3 like

In Chapter 21 of "To Kill a Mockingbird", how would you describe Jem's reaction to the verdict?

yes...i would like the answer to this question it is from the book to kill a mockingbird..please and thank u for helping me-david

3 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted April 30, 2007 at 8:40 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

His reaction is one of pain.

In the beginning of this chapter, Jem is cocky (to say the least). He fully believes that Tom will be aquitted. When Reverand Sykes expresses his concern, Jem says,"don't fret, we've won it...Don't see how any jury could convict on what we heard."

However, as the jury comes in, it is clear that things will not go well. The judge polls the jury. "Gulity...guilty...guilty...guilty...". Scout looks at her brother and saw that "his hands were white from gripping the balcony ral, and his shoulders jerked as if each "guilty" was a separate stab between them."

Jem has learned a painful life-lesson. Innocence will not always equal justice.


user profile pic

huffito1 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 1, 2007 at 12:25 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

One of the prominent themes of Harper Lee’s book is centered around the “coming of age” scenario. Jem is on the breaking point in his loss of innocence. Before this point there was some sort of idealized belief that even though bad situations happen, such as Tom being arrested, society proves to be righteous and the innocent are exonerated. However, when Tom is convicted this shatters the ideal image that Jem has in his mind and he cannot conceive why society works as it does. Chapter 21 serves as the pinnacle point in which Jem stops being a child and is awakened to the workings of the real world. Furthermore, chapter 22 shows the consequences of Jem’s innocence being shattered and how he deals with this corruption emotionally and physically.

user profile pic

dwivsh | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 25, 2011 at 7:31 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes