Jem Finch Maturity Essay

How can I write an essay about Jem Finch maturing in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In order to write an essay concerning Jem Finch's maturity throughout the novel, one must identify significant moments that display his personality. Early on in the novel, Jem is an innocent, naive child, who fears Boo Radley and makes rash decisions. He gives a humorous description of Boo, makes a nighttime raid on the Radley home, and continually argues with his sister. Around chapter 10, Jem begins to show signs of maturity. He stops "bothering" Boo and learns several valuable lessons from Atticus. His experiences of reading to Mrs. Dubose and witnessing Atticus shoot Tim Johnson give him an idea of what Atticus calls "real courage." In chapter 15, Jem displays his perspective, loyalty, and bravery by refusing to leave Atticus when he is surrounded by the Old Sarum bunch.

A significant moment in Jem's maturation takes place during Tom Robinson's trial. Throughout the trial, Jem naively believes that Tom will be found innocent. However, he drastically miscalculates the influence of racial prejudice. After hearing Tom's verdict, Jem loses his childhood innocence and becomes jaded with his racist community. Jem begins to question the justice system and has several enlightening conversations with Atticus regarding prejudice and their community. Jem's demeanor also changes as he becomes more sympathetic to those around him. He urges Scout not to harm innocent creatures, volunteers to walk her to the Halloween festival, and even defends her during Bob Ewell's attack. By the end of the novel, Jem develops into a morally upright, intelligent individual like his father.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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