Explain why this is truly the story of Jem maturing more than Scout.The story is an exapmle of bildungsroman, a coming of age story, or the story of a boy maturing. Explain why this is truly the...

 Explain why this is truly the story of Jem maturing more than Scout.

The story is an exapmle of bildungsroman, a coming of age story, or the story of a boy maturing. Explain why this is truly the story of Jem maturing more than Scout. Prove that jem matures more than Scout throughout the novel. Use speific examples from the text.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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While Scout narrates the story, To Kill a Mockingbirdclearly shows Jem's actual maturing more than Scout's. Several examples of his growth and development are clearly seen throughout the novel.  Jem is the one, during the trial, who both understands the issues of the case but also the implications of the verdict.  He is fully aware, in a way Scout is not, of Tom's innocence and the injustice which is done when the guilty verdict is returned.  Jem is visibly shaken and emotional when the trial is over. 

Later, in chapter 22, Miss Maudie recognizes this growth in Jem and serves him from the grownup cake rather than giving him his own small cake like Scout and Dill get--a hugely symbolic gesture to these kids.  She goes on to speak with him about the trial as if he were an adult.  In that conversation he says:

"It's like bein' a caterpillar in a cocoon, that's what it is," he said.  "Like somethin' asleep wrapped up in a warm place.  I always thought Maycomb folks were the best in the world, least that's what they seemed like." 

He has been disillusioned in a way that robbed him, to some degree, of his innocence.  Even the cocoon reference is a picture of maturing and growing. 

Jem is also Scout's comforter (rather than her tormentor) when Scout's convinced Aunt Alexandria hates her.  He hands her a tootsie roll, a very unselfish act, to help her get past the tears.  Then he expounds on something he's been thinking, something which also reveals his new-found maturity:

"You know something, Scout?  I've got it all figured out now.  I've thought about it a lot lately and I've got it figured out.  There's four kinds of folks in this world." 

He goes on to share some insights which reveal his ability to discern human nature--a sure sign that Jem has grown up.

Other moments (among many) along the way include retrieving his torn overalls from under the Radleys' fence, the episode with Mrs. Dubose, and the night in front of the jailhouse.  Don't be fooled by Scout's insights along the way; this is primarily Jem's emotional journey.

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