To Kill A MockingbirdDescribe the characters Jem, Scout, and Atticus in detail as to how each character changed throughout the course of the book, consider personality traits and their looks.  ...

To Kill A Mockingbird

Describe the characters Jem, Scout, and Atticus in detail as to how each character changed throughout the course of the book, consider personality traits and their looks.

 

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Of the three characters, it is Jem whose changes in appearance are noted in the novel. Jem grows up physically during the course of the story, changes that Scout notices. He is taller and slimmer; he is proud that he has grown hair on his chest. He plans to go out for football, having developed the size and strength to compete. Jem changes in other substantial ways. He loses his innocent view of the world and realizes that people--including his neighbors--are capable of cruelty, injustice, and hatred toward others. Jem comes to understand the effects of racism. Tom's conviction breaks his heart. He cries when the verdict is read. Jem also develops intellectual curiosity and talks with his father at length about human nature and the American court system. As he matures, Jem also develops more understanding of Scout as someone younger than himself and treats her with greater patience.

The changes in Scout relate to her greater understanding of other people. When she walks Boo Radley home at the end of the novel, she looks at her home and her street from a new point of view, both geographically and emotionally. Scout sees the little girl she had been and realizes that she has changed. The night when word reaches Atticus that Tom Robinson has been killed, Scout grows up considerably. She recognizes the tragedy of what has happened and the effect of it on Atticus and Alexandra. Scout acts with dignity, like "a lady," taking her cue from her aunt. This behavior is far different from rolling around in the dirt to whip one of the boys she used to fight.

Atticus, being a mature adult, changes far less than his children. His character has been formed and tested over the years, and nothing that Atticus experiences in defending Tom Robinson shakes his moral principles or damages his integrity. Atticus is the good, courageous man he is, and he is always the same man, no matter where he might happen to be or what circumstances arise. Atticus does experience one change, however, when Jem and Scout are attacked and almost killed. He learns that a human being can be capable of more depravity than he ever imagined. It had never occurred to Atticus that even Bob Ewell was so evil that he would try to kill two children to "get even" with their father.

 

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sandfire | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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