What evidence is there throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird that proves Jem had faith in Maycomb's community members and its justice system?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the novel, Jem is confident that Maycomb's citizens are respectable, magnanimous individuals with integrity. In the mind of a child, citizens who portray these positive qualities would value justice. The overwhelming lack of evidence, conflicting testimonies, and Tom's handicap is more than enough to acquit Tom Robinson. Towards the end of the trial, Jem mentions to Reverend Sykes that they will win the case. Jem is naive and doesn't take into consideration the role that prejudice plays in the jury's decision. Jem says,

"We've won it...Don't see how any jury could convict on what we heard---" (Lee 279)

After her the "guilty" verdict, Jem is overwhelmed with grief and anger. The following day, the children go over to Miss Maudie's for cakes. Maudie tells Jem not to fret, and Jem makes the comment,

"I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that's what they seemed like." (Lee 288)

Jem's comment is evidence that he once had faith in the citizens of Maycomb. He also mentions to Scout later on in Chapter 23, that he used to think there was only one type of person in Maycomb because everyone seemed to get along and treat each other with respect. He says,

"That's what I thought, too...when I was your age. If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other?" (Lee 304)

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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