What is an example of a contrast or contradiction that happened in To Kill a Mockingbird, part 2?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the major contrasts that take place in Part Two of the novel is how the children perceive Boo Radley. Towards the beginning of Part One, Jem, Dill, and Scout fear Boo Radley. They view Boo Radley as a "malevolent phantom" and believe that he is a grotesque creature that commits small crimes during the night throughout the community. All of the children run past Boo Radley's home, and Jem and Dill are fascinated with their reclusive neighbor. However, Jem discovers his pants mended and neatly folded over the Radley fence following their raid and the Finch children begin to receive anonymous gifts in the knothole of the Radley tree. By the end of Part Two, Jem no longer views Boo Radley as the "malevolent phantom," but Scout is still terrified of him.

In Part Two, Scout's perception of Boo begins to change as she matures and develops into a morally-upright person like her father. Following the Tom Robinson trial, Scout matures enough to recognize that Boo is simply a reclusive, shy man, with a mysterious, sad story. After Boo Radley saves the children from Bob Ewell's attack, Scout meets Boo face-to-face. She ends up having a pleasant conversation with him and walks Boo back to his home. As Scout stands on Boo's porch, she views the neighborhood from his perspective for the first time and truly understands the identity of her reclusive neighbor. Her sympathetic, understanding of Boo Radley in Part Two contrasts with her fearful, terrifying perspective of Boo in Part One.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the major contrasts in part 2 is that Jem turns 12 and tries to act more like an adult, and distance himself from Scout.

Part 2 begins with the announcement that Jem has turned 12.  As a new 12-year-old, Jem considers himself an adult.  He wants to tell Scout what to do now, and this annoys her to no end.

Overnight, it seemed, Jem had acquired an alien set of values and was trying to impose them on me: several times he went so far as to tell me what to do. (ch 12)

Although Jem’s attempts to separate himself from Scout and childish ways both her immensely, they also signal a shift in the book’s focus.  Scout and Jem grow up quickly in part 2.  They have to finally face the full storm of the trial, racism, and the prejudice that goes along with Southern small-town life.  The book becomes more about Tom Robinson and Atticus, and less about Boo Radley and the kids.  The reader has been introduced to the town with a slow build-up, and now everything happens at once, full force.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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