Write a detailed character sketch describing Jem's positive and negative characteristics from the novel To Kill A Mockingbird.

Expert Answers
James Kelley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Character sketches or studies are always a good way to approach a novel. Jem is certainly one of the central characters in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, and I'm sure that with a careful reading of the novel you'll notice all sorts of details about him to discuss in this assignment.

Very early in the novel, for example, you'll learn a detail about one of his arms (it's been broken, the reason for which is given only at the very end of the novel) as well as that he's one of the two children of Atticus Finch (his younger sister is Scout). Elsewhere in the novel you'll learn details about how he has fond memories about his deceased mother (his sister Scout has no such memories) and how he's a pretty sensitive young boy (he cries a few times out for emotional reasons and is really shaken by the jury's verdict in the Tom Robinson trial). As for what he wears, I mostly recall barefeet and overalls. I'm not to sure what sorts of negative characteristics he might have, other than perhaps being a bit of mischief maker (e.g. sneaking into the backyard of the Radley house at night) and a bit impatient at times with his younger sister.

A successful character study, I think, needs to be well grounded in examples from the novel. I'd encourage you to incorporate brief quotations and summaries whenever possible to support your characterizations of Jem.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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