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In part one of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout tells us that she was six and Jem was nearly ten. So at the beginning of the story, Jem is nine. The story is told to us by Scout, and goes to great lengths to describe the relationship between her and Jem. Although they are close in age, the two couldn't be more different. Jem is a serious boy, while Scout is not afraid to say whatever is on her mind. The story spans over a three year period in the lives of Jem and Scout.
We learn early on all about the Ewells of Maycomb county. We also learn of Boo Radley and Dill. Scout details all of the people who are or will become important in her life. Over the course of the novel, we see the bother and sister bond between the two of them. They fight terribly, but what brother and sister don't fight? Although they fight and Scout can get on Jem's nerves, the two of them are extremely close and will always be there for each other. We see this bond by the end, when Jem and Scout are put to the ultimate test.
Jem is nine years old at the beginning of the novel. Within a few pages of the beginning of Chapter One, Scout begins to reveal details that occured when she was "almost six and Jem was nearly ten." Also, Jem is twelve years old at the beginning of Part Two.
When the novel first begins, Jem is ten years old.
Nine, almost ten at the start.
Twelve in Part Two.
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