In "To Kill A Mockingbird" Jem reacts to the shooting in 2 distinct ways.  Explain both.Scout's reaction is different altogether. Explain why this is so.

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem's initial reaction is numb paralysis.  He is so shocked that Atticus can shoot, and shoot so well, that he doesn't even know what to say.  After the shot is fired it states that "Jem as paralyzed...Jem sat in numb confusion", and then he tries to articulate what he is thinking, but is having a hard time because he is so shocked.  Then, after Miss Maudie explains Atticus's background in shooting, and why he doesn't brag about it, Jem slowly comes out of the fog.  Eventally, he becomes elated that his father can do something so cool, and that he is so humble about it.  He respects Atticus's decision to not talk about it, but is still happy:  "Jem picked up a rock and threw it jubilantly at the carhouse.  Running after it, he called back:  'Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!'".  So, Jem goes from shocked awe to glowing pride and emulation.

Scout is more straightforward in her reaction.  She is so proud of her dad that she says that she'd "really have something to talk about at school on Monday."  She wants to go right out and brag to everyone about her dad.  Jem tells her not to because he figures if Atticus had wanted them to know, he would've told them; he respects Atticus's decision, and that is how they leave it.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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