During the trial in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout expresses some views that align with the racist views she is exposed to by her society. In contrast, during the trial, Jem shows he has not been affected by society's racist views but rather, due to his ...
During the trial in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout expresses some views that align with the racist views she is exposed to by her society. In contrast, during the trial, Jem shows he has not been affected by society's racist views but rather, due to his optimistic view of social justice, Jem naively believes his father will win the case. The outcome of the trial crushes Jem, whereas it doesn't crush Scout. The result is that Scout matures to openly reject all racist and prejudiced views, including prejudices against Arthur (Boo) Radley, whereas, in contrast, Jem clams up about such views and even grows violent.
Scout inadvertently displays she has been influenced by society's racist views when talking with Dill after he must leave the courtroom because he has broken down sobbing during Tom Robinson's cross-examination by the prosecuting attorney, Mr. Gilmer. When Dill explains he was crying because he found Mr. Gilmer's antagonist treatment of Robinson to be sickening, Scout displays society's typical racist view when she responds, "Well, Dill, after all he's just a Negro" (Ch. 19). Yet, after the trial, Scout displays a complete transformation when she becomes very offended by the hypocritical views of her third-grade teacher, Miss Gates. During class, Miss Gates tirades against Hitler's treatment of the Jews. Yet, Scout vividly recalls hearing Miss Gates say to Miss Stephanie Crawford, while exiting the courtroom after the trial, "[I]t's time somebody taught 'em a lesson, they were gettin' way above themselves" (Ch. 26). In other words, Scout recalls hearing Miss Gates express pleasure at Robinson having lost his trial, despite all evidence proving his innocence, because Miss Gates felt Robinson's loss put all African Americans in their proper place of subordination. What's more, Scout is so upset by this hypocritical behavior that she goes to talk to her brother about it, whereas before, when she was younger, she probably would not have noticed such hypocritical behavior. Scout's transformational response shows that, as a result of the trial, she has matured to the point that, like Atticus, she is willing to speak out against racism and social injustice.
In contrast, during the trial, Jem shows he has not been influenced by society's racism as he makes comments such as, "[W]e've won it ... Don't see how any jury could convict on what he heard--" (Ch. 21). Therefore, when he hears the jury's guilty verdict, his naive innocence is shattered, resulting in him shedding tears, unlike Scout, whose eyes remain dry. Also, unlike Scout, Jem bottles up his feelings, and when provoked to face his feelings, he bursts out in a violent rage. Scout inadvertently provokes him to face his feelings when she goes to talk to him about Miss Gates's hypocrisy. Jem's response is to shake Scout by the shoulders and shout at her, "I never wanta hear about that courthouse again, ever, ever, you hear me? You hear me?" (Ch. 26). Atticus explains to Scout that Jem thinks he is trying to forget about something, but he is actually "storing it away for a while" until he can sort out his feelings. Regardless, as a result of witnessing the trial, Jem matures to become hardened, unable to deal with his feelings, and even violent, whereas Scout matures to become more aware of the injustice around her and able to speak out about it, showing us that they both grew up very differently.