In Chapters 1-2 of To Kill a Mockingbird, what is a specific example from of Jem's life in 1930 to mine in 2009? My essay is supposed to be to a character, which I picked Jem comparing and contrasting my life to his using similes, alliteration, personification, facts, idioms, examples, and statisitics.  I've always had trouble developing my papers and thought if you could just help me with one example, maybe at least it would help me get started.  My paper has to be a page and a half long, but I'm having such a hard time since we've only read two chapters.  Thank you.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Let me give you a few different examples just to help start you thinking in the compare and contrast mode for your paper.  First, how about the dare when Jem finally succeeds in touching Boo Radley's house?

"I'm going," said Jem, "don't hurry me."

He walked to the corner of the lot, then back again, studying the simple terrain as if deciding how best to effect an entry, frowning and scratching his head.

Then I sneered at him.

Jem threw open the gate and sped to the side of the house, slapped it with his palm and ran back past us, not waiting to see if his foray was successful. (15)

I'm guessing that there is some time in your life when you were dared to do something, and were mighty proud of your success.  That would be a wonderful comparison that would work well today.

Second, how about when Jem was "delighted" to take Scout to school on the first day?

Jem condescended to take me to school the first day, a job usually done by one's parents, but Atticus had said Jem would be delighted to show me where my room was.  I think some money changed hands in this transaction. (15)

Do you have a younger sibling?  (Or are YOU the younger sibling?)  If so, then there must be an instance when you were probably asked to care for your little brother or sister.  Most likely, you accepted the task, . . . begrudgingly.

Finally, there is a wonderful part in Chapter 2 where Jem is quite a know-it-all, showing Scout exactly how the newest theory of education should be implemented:

Our teacher says Miss Caroline's introducing a new way of teaching.  She learned about it in college.  It'll be in all the grades soon.  You don't have to learn much out of books that way--it's like if you wanta learn about cows, you go milk one, see? (18).

Gosh, this makes me think of the Montessori method.  There are a couple of possibilities here.  Have you ever had a teacher that was good at teaching you "learning by doing"?  Did you ever attend a Montessori school?  Or have you ever been a know-it-all, or seen one in action?  Either way, that would make a great comparison to today as well.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial