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In many cases, Jem's growth has as much to do with his approaching puberty as the events that unfold around him. Jem is growing taller, hair is beginning to appear in unusual places, and his moodiness bewilders Scout. Jem is showing signs that he is outgrowing Scout as a companion, and he starts by distancing himself from her at school. By the end of the novel, Jem is in high school while Scout is still an elementary student. Jem and Scout are together on the night of the Halloween pageant only because Atticus and Aunt Alexandra are unable to go; Jem serves as her adult escort rather than as her playmate as he has in the past.
Both Jem and Scout mature faster than most children their age. They both discover that adults are capable of dishonesty (Nathan Radley lies to Jem), gossip (Miss Stephanie), secretly drinking (Miss Rachel), child neglect (Dill's parents), hate (Bob Ewell), racism (the jury), mental disease (Boo) and hypocisy (the missionary circle, Miss Gates). Bearing witness to the trial of Tom Robinson gives them insight into an adult world that few children their age would ever see, and the deaths of Tom and Mrs. Dubose affect them personally. Scout does not always understand everything that she sees and hears, but Jem has grown enough to recognize the seriousness of many of these actions.
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