To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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Jem Finch

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progresses, Jem begins to retreat from the childish games that he and Scout used to enjoy, becoming moodier and more withdrawn.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.”

Quotes

  • “You know something, Scout? I’ve got it all figured out, now. I’ve thought...

(The entire section is 489 words.)