In Chapter 21 of To Kill a Mockingbird, how would you describe Jem's reaction to the verdict?

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One of the prominent themes of Harper Lee’s book is centered around the “coming of age” scenario. Jem is on the breaking point in his loss of innocence. Before this point there was some sort of idealized belief that even though bad situations happen, such as Tom being arrested, society proves to be righteous and the innocent are exonerated. However, when Tom is convicted this shatters the ideal image that Jem has in his mind and he cannot conceive why society works as it does. Chapter 21 serves as the pinnacle point in which Jem stops being a child and is awakened to the workings of the real world. Furthermore, chapter 22 shows the consequences of Jem’s innocence being shattered and how he deals with this corruption emotionally and physically.

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His reaction is one of pain.

In the beginning of this chapter, Jem is cocky (to say the least). He fully believes that Tom will be aquitted. When Reverand Sykes expresses his concern, Jem says,"don't fret, we've won it...Don't see how any jury could convict on what we heard."

However, as the jury comes in, it is clear that things will not go well. The judge polls the jury. "Gulity...guilty...guilty...guilty...". Scout looks at her brother and saw that "his hands were white from gripping the balcony ral, and his shoulders jerked as if each "guilty" was a separate stab between them."

Jem has learned a painful life-lesson. Innocence will not always equal justice.

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