How do Scout and Jem differ in different situations in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem's maturity gives him an advantage over his sister when it comes to dealing with difficult situations in To Kill a Mockingbird, but the biggest difference between the two is that he handles his temper better than Scout. On several occasions early in the novel, Scout resorts to using her fists to decide matters between Walter Cunningham, Cecil Jacobs and her cousin Francis. After a lecture from Atticus, she learns to control her urge to fight except when she lights into Jem in Chapter 14. Jem exhibits a hot temper at times, but he usually lets it out in a verbal manner rather than physically (aside from his destructive attack on Mrs. Dubose's camellias). Jem is a bit more reflective, patiently explaining to Scout why she shouldn't brag about Atticus' marksmanship skills to her classmates (Chapter 10) and calming Scout after Aunt Alexandra's refusal to allow Walter Jr. to visit the Finch house (Chapter 23). Jem is always the leader: Scout follows him on his excursions to the Radley house, to the jail when they encounter the lynch mob, and to the courthouse on the day of the trial. On the night of the Halloween pageant, Jem leads Scout to and from the school; and when they are attacked by Bob Ewell, he tells his sister to run, and then tries to protect her from Bob's murderous hands.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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