What is Jem And Scout's relationship in chapter 1?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem and Scout have a relatively typical sibling relationship in chapter 1. Jem is the somewhat authoritative older brother, and Scout tags along with him and their new friend Dill. Scout pays close attention to anything her brother says and believes him wholeheartedly. When Jem gives his fantastic description of Boo Radley, Scout believes Jem and trusts that Boo is actually the creature Jem describes in gruesome detail. Jem views himself as Scout's superior, and she retaliates by making smart comments that contradict her older brother. When Jem tells Dill that he is not scared of the Radley's home, Scout makes sure to include the fact that Jem runs past the Radley home each day. After Dill bets that Jem will not knock on the Radley's door, Jem hesitates and tells Dill that he has a younger sister to think of, which Scout recognizes as a weak excuse. Scout mentions,

When he said that, I knew he was afraid. Jem had his little sister to think of the time I dared him to jump off the top of the house (Lee, 14).

Overall, Jem and Scout are portrayed as typical siblings, who hang out constantly and influence each other significantly. Jem is portrayed as the obvious leader, while Scout is depicted as the younger sister who tags along and follows Jem everywhere.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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