The Coming of Age of Jem in To Kill a Mockingbird, a Novel by Harper Lee

Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the protagonist Jem Finch changes by maturing and growing up. By making these changes, Jem became responsible, understood what was happening with the trial, and how it affected others. At the beginning, Jem does childish things with Dill and Scout. As the novel progressed, Jem realized how immature these activities were and stopped playing with them.

Jem becomes responsible throughout the novel. As he gets older, he realizes what his responsibilities are and does what he feels is right. For example, Dill ran away from his home and came to the Finch house. He doesn’t want anyone to know he is there, yet Jem decides to tell Atticus. In the quote, “You oughta let your mother know where you are,’ said Jem. ‘You oughta let her know you’re here….’ Dill’s eyes flickered at Jem, and Jem looked at the floor. Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood. He went out of the room and down the hall. ‘Atticus,’ his voice was distant, ‘can you come here a minute, sir?””(Lee 187, 188) Jem is doing the responsible thing. He felt that it was necessary to tell Atticus, so he did. Becoming responsible showed that Jem had matured.

Another example of Jem’s maturity is when him and Scout were at the Tom Robinson trial and Jem was squirming in his seat. He knew what was happening in the case and listened very carefully to everything. Even when Reverend Sykes questioned their presence at the trial, Jem convinced him that it was alright in order to stay and continue to listen and see what happens throughout the trial. In the quote, “Jem seemed to be having a quiet fit. He was pounding on the balcony rail softly, and once he whispered, ‘We’ve got him.”” (Lee 231-232, 238) shows that Jem understands what is happening in the trial and is interested in what is going on, which is another example of his maturity.

The third example of Jem’s coming of age is when Jem tells Atticus “It ain’t right, Atticus.” (Lee 284) It shows that Jem understands what has been going on in the trials and how it affected everyone. He knows that Tom Robinson is innocent and has been charged with a terrible crime. He doesn’t think that it’s fair of him to be charged for something he didn’t do. This also shows Jem’s maturity. Jem’s coming of age has shown his newfound maturity. He has become more responsible and understanding. He has an idea of what is right and wrong and wishes things could always be right. His maturity has shown to progress throughout the novel.

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