How does Jem's understanding of the world about him, in particular human relationships, prepare him for life beyond childhood? 

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the novel, Jem matures and develops his perspective on life by listening to Atticus' lessons and witnessing prejudice firsthand. Atticus teaches Jem the importance of tolerance, courage, and standing up for innocent beings throughout the story. Jem learns about "real courage" from his experience with Mrs. Dubose, and Atticus teaches him about mob mentality. Jem also watches his father defend Tom Robinson in front of a prejudiced jury. After Jem witnesses Tom become a victim of racial injustice, he becomes jaded about the community of Maycomb. Jem loses his innocence and realizes that his kind neighbors are actually racists. He also becomes more sympathetic to the needs of innocent beings and displays his empathy by stopping Scout from squashing a rolly-polly bug. Jem's experiences and moral upbringing allow him to develop into a conscientious, brave, and tolerant person. Jem's perception of the world has allowed him to become a morally upright individual like his father. As Jem becomes older, he will probably follow in his father's footsteps by becoming an advocate for the oppressed and innocent.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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