In To Kill a Mockingbird, what is the change in Jem's opinon toward Walter Cunningham, and what is the event that this changed?In Chapter 3 when Jem invites Walter over for dinner.

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 3 starts with Scout fighting with Walter Cunningham in the schoolyard because he is one the reasons Scout and Miss Caroline didn't agree on the first day of school.  It seems Jem would normally take his sister's side in a matter of fighting - but in this case he makes a mature decision.  First, he tells Scout to leave Walter alone because she's "bigger" than he is.  Next, he invites Walter home for dinner.

I guess the change of opinion is that in chapter 2 - Scout explains Jem's understanding of the Cunninghams money situation (the fact that they have none but won't take charity).  By extending an invitation to come to dinner, Jem is breaking the very rule that Scout fought with Miss Caroline with in the first place - Cunningham's won't take free handouts.  He gets around this by saying, "our daddy's a friend of your daddy."

burbina eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 3, Scout is fighting Walter in the school yard, on the way home for lunch, because he "got her in trouble."  She explained to the teacher that Walter wouldn't take money from her because he was raised not to take anything that cannot be repaid.  Jem, understanding this about Walter's character, stops the fight and invites Walter to lunch with them as friends, because inviting a friend home for lunch isn't something that necessairly needs to be "repaid."  Jem is showing that he's maturing and is able to see Walter for who he is, and not what he's labeled.  He understands that a person's values are more important than what they have or what family they come from, and he understands that the values that have been instilled in Walter are very nobel and honest, making him an equal to Jem and Scout, regardless of social class.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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