What does the political cartoon of Atticus chained to a desk and wearing short pants mean to jem

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lhurley2844 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 12 of To Kill a Mockingbird begins with Scout detailing the changes she notices in Jem. For example, he doesn't seem to want to spend as much time with Scout and implies that she should start, "bein' a girl and acting right!” Calpurnia refers to Jem as "Mister Jem," and Scout acknowledges his increasing wisdom. Jem seems to be maturing, which plays a role in how he interprets the cartoon involving Atticus.

In the Montgomery Advertiser, the children see a cartoon titled, "Maycomb's Finch." It depicts Atticus as being chained to a desk diligently working. He is dressed in short pants and is barefooted. The cartoon also shows some girls yelling, "Yoo-hoo!" at him, which he seems to be ignoring. Jem feels that the cartoon is complimentary to Atticus. He explains to Scout that Atticus "spends his time doin' things that wouldn’t get done if nobody did ’em." Jem is aware of his father's work ethic and feels that the cartoon is implying that Atticus is doing his job.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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