In To Kill a Mockingbird, is Jem a static or a dynamic character?

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shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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A dynamic character changes over the course of a story in a significant way. It’s an important thing to look at it because character changes usually tell us something very important about the theme of the story. In To Kill a Mockingbird, it is significant that Jem is a dynamic character.

For much of the story Jem does not seem dynamic. He is frequently at odds with Atticus about issues that he doesn’t understand. However, by the end of the novel, after Tom Robinson’s trial, and his experiences with Dill and Mrs. Dubose and Boo Radley, we begin to see that Jem has become more thoughtful about life. We see this in chapter 23 when Jem says this about Boo:

Scout, I think I’m beginning to understand something. I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time . . . it’s because he wants to stay inside.

This marks a major passage into maturity for Jem. Until this point, he was content to consider Boo a monster, a freak. But now he has learned the value of his father’s advice, which is to always consider a person from their own perspective.


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