When does Jem lose his innocence in To Kill a Mockingbird?

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem’s loss of innocence is closely associated with death and occurs through stages rather than all at once. The death of Mrs. Dubose, his father’s shooting the mad dog, and Tom Robinson’s conviction and death are all important events. These all lead up to the final loss of innocence when he protects his sister while surviving Bob Ewell’s attack.

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The loss of innocence refers to Jem's emergence into a mature, adult understanding of the truths of the world as he loses his naive and childlike views.

This is a process that happens over time, but if there is a singular event that completes this process, it is definitely the conviction of Tom Robinson in spite of substantial and convincing evidence that he could not have possibly committed the crimes he's accused of. Jem believes that Atticus has represented Tom well, and he thus initially believes that Tom will be declared innocent. When Atticus shows that Bob Ewell is left-handed and could have inflicted Mayella's injuries, Jem is certain this is the convincing evidence the jury needs:

Jem seemed to be having a quiet fit. He was pounding the balcony rail softly, and once he whispered, “We’ve got him.”

Yet even Scout , who is younger, believes that Jem is "counting his chickens" in this moment. When the trial concludes and the verdict is announced, Jem is utterly devastated by his...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 958 words.)

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