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Jem Finch

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Extended Character Analysis

Scout’s older brother, Jeremy "Jem" Finch, is only nine years old when the novel opens. In temperament, he is more mature and thoughtful than his impulsive younger sister. Initially, Jem acts as both Scout’s playmate and mentor, often serving as a bridge between her and the adult world. As Jem is four years older than Scout, he has a more nuanced understanding of the prejudice and racism in Maycomb and, as a result, is more emotionally affected by it. Harper Lee uses Jem’s awakening to adulthood to mirror the townspeople's realization of their intolerance. As the novel progresses, Jem begins to retreat from the childish games that he and Scout used to enjoy, becoming moodier and more withdrawn. Despite his increasing worldliness, Jem’s intense admiration for his father combined with his strong belief in justice leads to his utter devastation at the outcome of Tom Robinson’s trial. Though Jem feels disillusioned with Maycomb in the aftermath of the trial, he still retains his inner goodness and bravely attempts to defend his little sister against Bob Ewell’s attack. By the end of the novel, Atticus is confident that Jem will eventually be able to move on from his disappointment in the trial and “be himself again.”


  • “You know something, Scout? I’ve got it all figured out, now. I’ve thought about it a lot lately and I’ve got it figured out. There’s four kinds of folks in the world. There’s the ordinary kind like us and the neighbors, there’s the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump, and the Negroes.”
  • "It's like bein' a caterpillar in a cocoon, that's what it is. . . . Like somethin' asleep wrapped up in a warm place. I always...

(The entire section contains 489 words.)

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Scout Finch


Atticus Finch