To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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In To Kill a Mockingbird, how does Jem show courage? 

Jem's courageous nature mostly manifests when he wishes to protect his family members, such as when he remains with Atticus at the jail or when he tries to save Scout from Bob Ewell.

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Jem's ideas about bravery really change over the course of the novel. In the first chapter, we see that Jem believes in physical bravery. While telling tall tales about the terrifying appearance of Boo Radley, Jem conjures up plans to make this "horrific" man come out of his house, "sort of like making a turtle come out..." Jem increases the tension, telling Scout and Dill that Boo will kill them all if he catches them but wants Dill "to know once and for all that he [isn't] scared of anything." Jem thus leads the group to the house, opens the gate, runs up and slaps the side of he house with his palm, and races back. He feels accomplished at this act of bravery as he sits safely on his own porch afterward.

As conflict in the town mounts, Jem learns other ideas about bravery. Perhaps most importantly, he learns to bravely question the status quo in their prejudiced town. In chapter twenty-three, Jem begins asking difficult questions that reflect the inherent biases that led to Tom...

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