How has Atticus's character influenced Jem in Chapter 22 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Atticus suckered Jem into admitting that the children were playing their Boo Radley game outside on the street, Jem wasn't so sure that he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps.

"I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, but I ain't so sure now!"  (Chapter 5)

After the jury's verdict in the Tom Robinson trial, Jem is pretty sure that he would like to outlaw all juries, too. It was clear to Jem, who had seen the entire trial, that his father had proven that Tom was an innocent man. However, the jury didn't think so, and Jem was livid.

"I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that's what they seemed like."

Jem had it in his head that Atticus was all alone in his community, but Miss Maudie explained that there were plenty of people who felt just like Atticus. Judge Taylor had handpicked Atticus to defend Tom, she told Jem, instead of the normal court-appointed lawyer. Maudie told Jem how she had waited and waited, realizing that only Atticus could have kept "a jury out so long in a case like that." She told him that some men

     "... were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father's one of them.
     "We're so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we've got men like Atticus to go for us."

Jem seemed to be thinking that Maycomb needed more people like Atticus--perhaps another Finch lawyer "to make up for heathen juries."

"Soon's I get grown--"

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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