What does Jem Finch say that shows he respects Atticus? 

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout and Jem think Atticus is an old and boring father. Scout notes that Atticus will play football with Jem but he won't tackle because he says he is too old. At the beginning of Chapter 10, Scout narrates, "Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty." She and Jem are embarrassed that Atticus doesn't hunt, fish, play poker, or do anything "manly" that other fathers of children their age tend to do. 

But, at the end of Chapter 10, Atticus is the one who is able to shoot and kill Tim Johnson's rabid dog. Finally, the children have seen their father in action. Scout can not wait to brag about Atticus in school. But Jem tells her not to say anything. Miss Maudie tells Jem that Atticus didn't shoot often because he probably felt like God had given him an unfair advantage over every other living thing. More importantly, she says "People in their right minds never take pride in their talents." In other words, a gentleman doesn't need to brag about himself. Jem, who had probably always wanted to brag about Atticus for something like this, realizes that Miss Maudie is correct. So he tells Scout that they won't brag about him either. Jem realizes that a gentleman doesn't brag and this is the first time he says he wants to be like Atticus: 

"Naw, Scout, it’s something you wouldn’t understand. Atticus is real old, but I wouldn’t care if he couldn’t do anything—I wouldn’t care if he couldn’t do a blessed thing."

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!” 

user3053105 | Student

He sais that Atticus is genleman just like he is and by that he showed his respect for his father.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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