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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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How does Jem solve problems throughout To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Being a bit older and more mature than his sister, Jem seems to exhibit a knack for sizing up the situation before acting. Where Scout is quick to use her fists (and feet, as in the case of her lynch mob target), Jem often thinks things out before making his final decision. When Dill dares him to run and touch the Radley house, Jem thinks about it for several days before finally acting. When he loses his pants in the Radley's back yard, he thinks the situation over and decides to retrieve them; however, he waits until later in the night after things have quieted down before returning. Even before attacking Mrs. Dubose's camellias, he first went shopping with Scout, making two stops before returning to the Dubose house.

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Jem has been greatly influenced by his father, Atticus. Jem tends to think things through, especially as he gets older. Atticus advised his children not to judge a person until you've walked around in their skin. In other words, know the person's background to understand his actions. At the beginning of the book, Jem was immature and reacted before thinking sometimes. An example of this is when Dill dared him to run up to the Radley house and touch it. Jem's action could have gotten him killed, but I think Nathan Radley shot to scare, not kill. After that, Jem's actions and his explanations to Scout seem more thought out and rational. Scout was the hot-headed, impulsive one, while Jem was more thoughtful, probably because of his age.

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