How are Jem and Scout affected by their father's defense of Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Jem and Scout have to put up with both children and adults telling them how horrible their father is for defending Tom Robinson. Scout gets in fights. She yells at Cecil Jacobs, then draws blood defending her father to cousin Francis at Christmas. The pressure from the community is so bad that even an elderly neighbor named Mrs. Dubose says horrible things to the kids about their father. As a result, Jem goes berserk. Scout explains how it has affected Jem to the point of chopping off the tops of Mrs. Dubose's camellia bushes:

"Jem had probably stood as much guff about Atticus lawing for ni**ers as had I, and I took it for granted that he kept his temper—he had a naturally tranquil disposition and a slow fuse. At the time, however, I thought the only explanation for what he did was that for a few minutes he simply went mad" (102).

The above passage is a kind of prologue to the story of Jem's camellia-chopping day. He grabs Scout's new baton that he has just bought her and takes out all his...

(The entire section contains 559 words.)

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