What are Jem's and Atticus' pastimes?  

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Jem's favorite pastimes concern anything to do with the game of football. Scout describes her brother as "football crazy," and he desperately wishes to earn a football scholarship when he gets older. Jem not only plays keep-away with Atticus but also attends the local games, acts as a water boy, and continually reads football magazines. Another one of Jem's favorite pastimes is planning outrageous schemes to make Boo Radley leave his home. As a child, Jem is fascinated by his mysterious, reclusive neighbor and creates elaborate schemes to make him come out. Jem also enjoys play-acting popular stories and films with Dill and Scout.

Being that Atticus is portrayed as an intellectual, it is only appropriate that one of his favorite pastimes is reading the newspaper. There are numerous scenes throughout the novel that depict Atticus silently reading the newspaper to himself. In chapter ten, Miss Maudie tells Jem and Scout that Atticus is the best checkers player in town and also has an affinity for playing the Jew's Harp. The children also learn that one of Atticus's favorite pastimes as a young man was shooting his rifle. They are astonished to learn that he is the best marksman in the county. However, Atticus no longer shoots guns and has given up hunting. Atticus also enjoys playing keep-away with Jem, who loves the game of football. It is also important to note that both Jem and Scout lament about Atticus's lack of interesting hobbies and pastimes at the beginning of chapter ten.

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In To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee uses Jem and Atticus Finch's favorite pastimes to deepen their  characterization

Jem's pastime is football, which Harper Lee reveals in the very first chapter of the book.  The fact that Jem likes football reveals a couple of important aspects of his character.  First, Jem is moving toward adulthood; he is leaving Scout's childish games behind and has chosen a more age-appropriate sport.  Jem's preference of football also reveals that he is not afraid of conflict, since football is a highly competitive contact sport.  You have to take personal risks at times, playing football.   It also requires teamwork and discipline. 

Atticus Finch was known as the best checker player in Maycomb; this reveals that he prefers strategy games and thinking critically to solve problems.  He also plays a jew's harp (mouth organ) and is very good at shooting, earning him the name "One-shot Finch."  Atticus' skill with the gun reveals that he has a steady hand and an attention to detail, both important characteristics in superior marksmanship.  Atticus was also very well read.

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