How does Scout's and Jem's relationship develop in Part 2 of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?Please explain the initial impressions, moments of strength and weakness, developments and changes, key...

How does Scout's and Jem's relationship develop in Part 2 of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?

Please explain the initial impressions, moments of strength and weakness, developments and changes, key moments and the significance of their relationship to the rest of the novel, etc.

1 Answer | Add Yours

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

As Part Two opens, Scout finds herself at odds with Jem, whose growing pains is mistaken for tapeworm by his sister. Now twelve years old, Jem is approaching puberty, and he no longer has time for Scout. Gone are the roughhousing in the front yard and the Radley game they had so enjoyed. Jem believes Scout should start "bein' a girl and actin' right," and Scout is forced to spend more time by herself and with Calpurnia. Jem's approach into the adult world infuriates Scout, as does his "alien set of values" that he was "trying to impose." But he shows his courage and resolve when he refuses to leave Atticus alone at the jail with the lynch mob, and Jem becomes far more involved in the trial. His emotional display following the guilty verdict far outweighs Scout's more detached narration, and he seems to be permanently affected by the jury's unfair decision. It prompts Jem considering following in Atticus's footsteps as a lawyer, believing that "We oughta do away with juries." Jem develops his own belief in the social structure of Maycomb, believing that there are four different groups of people, while Scout thinks that "there's just one kind of folks. Folks."

While Scout takes small steps into becoming a lady, biting her tongue while surrounded by the backbiting and hypocrisy from the "ladies" of the Missionary Circle, Jem proudly shows off his newly-grown body hair and makes plans to try out for the football team. At the end of the novel, Jem heroically defends Scout against the murderous clutches of Bob Ewell. Scout, meanwhile, sees both Jem and the neighborhood in a new light: Her fantasy comes true when she finally meets Boo Radley face-to-face, and she escorts him home arm-in-arm after he saves the lives of the Finch children. It is a defining moment for Scout, who finally understands what Atticus meant when

... he said you never really knew a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.  (Chapter 31) 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,957 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question