One way that Harper Lee illustrates Jem's and Scout's coming of age is through their developing perception of Boo Radley. At the beginning of the story, Scout views Boo as a "malevolent phantom," and Jem believes that he is a menacing creature who eats raw animals and is covered in blood. As the novel progresses, Jem discovers that Boo mended and folded his pants and that Boo has been giving them small gifts in the knothole of the Radley tree. After Jem discovers that the knothole has been filled in with cement, he cries on the front porch at the lost opportunity to create a friendship with Boo.
Jem's ability to perceive Boo as a compassionate, kind neighbor illustrates his maturation. Toward the end of the story, Scout also demonstrates her coming of age by viewing Boo in a new light. She tells Jem:
Boo doesn’t mean anybody any harm, but I’m right glad you’re along (Lee 135)
Scout sympathizes with her neighbor and understands that he is a harmless, reclusive man. After Boo saves her...
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