To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How does Scout changing as a result of Jem's puberty (his changing persona) affect the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?

Expert Answers info

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

To Kill a Mockingbird is classified as a bildungsroman, a novel of maturation. As such, the siblings Jean-Louise (Scout) and Jeremy (Jem) move apart as they mature.

As Jem matures he desires less and less to be involved in all that Scout does. At times he adopts a tone of superiority towards her. "In addition to Jem's newly developed characteristics, he had acquired a maddening air of wisdom." (Ch.12) Frequently, Jem tells his little sister to leave him alone. Sometimes she turns to Calpurnia and talks with her. Calpurnia consoles Scout:

"Baby. . . I just can't help it if Mister Jem's growin' up. He's gonna want to be off to himself a lot now, doin' whatever boys do, so you just come right on in the kitchen when you feel lonesome" (Ch.12)

Further, Scout is offended by what she perceives as Jem's attitude of superiority to her. She feels somewhat demeaned by Jem's opinion that she "can't hold something in [her] mind but a little while" (Ch.14) while "grown folks" like Jem can think more deeply and analyze things.

At one point, Jem threatens to spank Scout. Scout hits him, and they fight seriously with one another until Atticus breaks them apart, sending both children to bed. But Scout feels something under her bed. Fearing that it is a snake, she forgets her momentary repulsion for her brother and asks Jem to come and see what is there. Jem exclaims when he sees that it is Dill. After a dirty Dill emerges, Jem observes that Dill's parents must not know where he is. Dill grins as he observes that they are "probably still searchin' all the picture shows in Meridian." When he hears this, Jem does something that appalls Scout. He tells Dill that he should let his mother know that he is at their house.

Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood.  He went out of the room and down the hall. "Atticus, . . . can you come here a minutes, sir?" (Ch.14)

Atticus enters the...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 687 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,968 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial