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To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel rich with symbols and imagery. We watch as Jem and Scout experience that their picturesque town is not as perfect and innocent as it appears. It is a "coming of age" story, and we see Jem, in particular, move from the naiveté of a young boy into a young adult who becomes aware that evil and danger can exist anywhere, even Maycomb, Alabama. At the onset, the mystery of Boo Radley pierces the innocence of all three children: Jem, Scout and Dill. Like all children, they are curious regarding the mystery that surrounds him. There are many rumors about the fact that he was a violent teenager, and the children are frightened by him too. Yet, this pales in comparison to the antagonist of the novel, Bob Ewell. In him, the children uncover pure evil. So, as Jem (and Scout to a certain extent) teeter between the innocence of their childhood and the harsh realities of the adult world, they find a safe haven in the tree house. Despite the fact that Jem is moving from one world to another, he has a place to a transition. He can take a respite from the darker more sinister world of adulthood and take refuge in his tree house, a place of peace, solitude and innocence.
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