What evidence showed that Jem was starting to grow up and was beginning to identify himself with the adult world in To Kill a Mockingbird?   Please explain and be specific.Examples would be...

What evidence showed that Jem was starting to grow up and was beginning to identify himself with the adult world in To Kill a Mockingbird?

 

Please explain and be specific.

Examples would be greatly appreciated. Chapters 12-14.

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of Part Two of To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem has just turned 12 years old.

He was difficult to live with, inconsistent, moody.

He was growing up and reaching the first stages of puberty. He no longer wanted to spend as much time with Scout and, as Calpurnia explained,

"He's gonna want to be off to himself a lot now, doin' whatever boys do..."

Jem had also

... acquired an alien set of values and was trying to impose them on me... In addition to Jem's newly acquired characteristics, he had acquired a maddening air of wisdom.

He was also feeling more like a man. Although neither of the children particularly care for their Aunt Alexandra, Jem tries harder to get along with her or, at least stay out of her way. When Atticus and Alexandra argue about Calpurnia's place in the Finch home, Jem blames Scout. He orders her "not to antagonize Aunty, hear?" Scout accuses Jem of being bossy, but he tells her that they don't need to be "worrying" Atticus with the upcoming trial taking up so much of his time. Believing that he is now an adult himself, Jem tells Scout that

"... you can't hold something in your mind but a little while... It's different with grown folks. We--

With that, a brawl began between the two, and they were both children again. With the arrival of Dill, Jem allowed Scout to reacquaint herself with her "permanent fiance," preferring to spend his evenings alone in his bedroom with "a stack of football magazines." In the later chapters, Jem proudly displays his first evidence of chest hair, and announces that he plans to go out for the football team.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of chapter 12, Scout begins to comment on Jem's maturation by saying,

"Jem was twelve. He was difficult to live with, inconsistent, moody" (Lee, 116).

Calpurnia also recognizes that Jem is growing up and begins referring to Jem as "Mister Jem." Jem becomes more aloof towards Scout, and she mentions,

"In addition to Jem’s newly developed characteristics, he had acquired a maddening air of wisdom" (Lee, 118).

Jem also begins reading the paper like his father and stops playing their typical child games in the front yard. In chapter 14, Jem identifies himself as an adult during a conversation with Scout shortly after she gets into an argument with Aunt Alexandra. Jem takes Scout into his room and tells her to stop antagonizing her aunt. Scout immediately becomes defensive by thinking that Jem is trying to tell her what to do. Jem then attempts to explain to his sister that the Tom Robinson case has been worrying their father, which is something Scout is too young to comprehend. When Scout mentions that she hasn't noticed a difference in their father's behavior, Jem says,

"That’s because you can’t hold something in your mind but a little while...It’s different with grown folks, we—" (Lee, 139).

Scout can no longer stand Jem's "maddening superiority" and begins to yell at her brother. Jem once again reveals that he identifies himself as an adult by saying,

"Now I mean it, Scout, you antagonize Aunty and I’ll—I’ll spank you" (Lee, 139).

The two siblings then get into a physical altercation, which is broken up by their father shortly after it starts.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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