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To Kill a Mocking Bird - Character Analysis of Jem

This is an essay which describes the changes in Jem's character and gives events as evidence.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Character Analysis of Jem - Changes in his Character

?Jem is the character who changes most.? He ages from 10 to 13 during the course of this novel, and it is during this stage that Jem experiences many changes, in the society, and within himself. Jem shares his father?s ideals, though his understanding and open-mindedness is restricted by his age. He represents the idea of bravery in the novel, and his courage deepens during the 3 years.

At the beginning of the story, touching the Radley house was what Jem thought of courage. This was also because of the simple fact that ? in all his life, Jem had never declined a dare.? But, as the story moves on, he learns about courage from Atticus, Scout, Mrs. Dubose, and even Tom Robinson. The conviction and trial of Tom Robinson released the full amount of Jem?s sensitiveness and idealism.

He and Scout were the only children in the area, and thus, both of them had to rely on each other and Scout was a partner in Jem?s plans. However, when Dill arrived, Jem took charge, and this was probably one of his first attempts at leadership. During the building of the snowman, Jem took charge again and improvised on the little snow that was left and added soil to it. Jem learnt courage from Atticus, when he shot the mad dog, and realized that Atticus was not a feeble person after all, and that age was not a barrier for being courageous.

Jem shows seriousness in certain things, and he got out of control when Mrs. Dubose insulted his father. Out of anger, he beat down her camellias, broke Scout?s baton and even hurt Scout. However, when he meets the consequences and reads to Mrs. Dubose, Jem answered her defiantly, did not accept her comments, and trained himself not to rise to her ?most blood-curdling inventions?. Mrs. Dubose?s fight with her addiction was made clear by Atticus later, who said that she was ? the bravest person (he) ever knew?. Jem understood that someone so foul and mean could be brave, and drops his hatred for Mrs. Dubose.

As Jem grows, he begins to do what is right, even if that decision or action is not popular. When Dill ran away from home and appeared at his house, Jem said that he ?oughta let (his) mother know where (he is)?, and calls Atticus hesitantly, even though he knew that Scout and Dill would not like it. Jem becomes sensitive, and the sealing of the knothole affects him so badly that he ?stood there until nightfall? and cried. This moodiness is explained by Calpurnia that it was part of Jem?s growing up.

Tom Robinson?s case brings out Jem?s idealism and sensitivity in full force. Jem believes in the rightness of law and justice, and thus, Tom?s conviction angers him so much that he wants to abolish the jury system. Jem even shouted at Scout when she told him about Miss Gates? racism at the courthouse, and told her that he ? never wanta hear about that courthouse again?. The trial changed Jem?s thoughts, and understanding of the society and made him tolerant. It changed his character and personality for the better, and made him understand things more fluently.

After the trial, Jem gained a sense of gentle-manliness and became protective of Scout, instead of treating her as a partner in his plans and activities. This is further explained by Bob Ewell?s attack on them. Jem understood that Scout was embarrassed by the concert and wanted to go home in her costume to avoid embarrassment, and fetched her back home. When Bob Ewell attacked them, Jem tried his best to protect Scout and shouted at her to run away, not concerned about himself.

Overall, Jem changed from an over-sensitive, somewhat biased boy, to an admirable but sensitive and brave gentleman.

637 words

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