What is an example of how Jem and Scout's relationship changes as Jem matures in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Scout and Jem’s relationship changes as Jem matures because he begins to see the world differently, and she still thinks like a child.

The first significant example of the divide between Scout and Jem is when Jem loses his pants on the Radley porch, and then decides to go back and get them.  Scout thinks he will be shot, and she doesn’t understand why he does not just take his punishment.

Jem explains that Atticus has never whipped him, and he does not want Atticus to find out about the pants because he will be disappointed.

It was then, I suppose, that Jem and I first began to part company. Sometimes I did not understand him, but my periods of bewilderment were short-lived. This was beyond me. (ch 6)

What Scout does not understand is that Jem is not afraid of a spanking.  He is afraid of disappointing Atticus.  He wants Atticus to look at him as an adult.  He wants him to think he makes good choices.  Jem regrets the childish decision to sneak into the Radley yard, when Atticus told them to leave the Radleys alone.

As they get closer to the trial, Atticus follows it with the intellect of an adult but the emotions of a child.  He is more and more distant from Scout, and treats her more like a child than a friend.


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