Jem changes and develops more than any other character during the course of the book.
How far do you agree with this statement?
In order to fully explore this argument, the other characters that developed throughout the duration of the novel need to be considered and discussed. To understand how they develop, the characters opinions must be compared and contrasted from the start of the novel, through to the very end.
During the book, Jem is aged ten to thirteen and exhibits a range of physical development: Scout noticed that ‘his voice rose uncontrollably,’ and Jem proudly shows Scout his chest hair which marks the beginning of sexual maturity and his idea of manhood. In spite of this, it must be evaluated if physical characteristics determine a person’s development. Obviously, this is a factor, but a minor one. So in order to judge Jem fully on his development as a character, we must analyse how he does, not just physically, but emotionally, morally and socially.
At the beginning of Part II, Lee describes how Jem is at the onset of puberty. Calpurnia notices, commenting that ‘I just can’t help it if Mr Jem’s growin’ up.’ Her use of the present tense ‘growin’’ suggests that she knows that he, like Scout, is still in the process of understanding adult life. On the other hand, this can be interpreted more literally, in how Jem, in contrast to Scout, is going through early phases of puberty, and therefore growing rapidly. To deduce, the reader assumes that Calpurnia is referring to both.
Later, however, during the day of the trial, Calpurnia adds ‘Mister Jem, I thought you was gettin’ some kinda head on your shoulders’ This is oxymoronic; by saying ‘Mister’ Jem, denotes that he has matured, but Calpurnia contradicts this idea by saying that she ‘thought’ he had ‘a head on his shoulders.’ The word ‘thought’ suggests that Calpurnia was previously mistaken by thinking he had matured.
Before maturity, Jem has a childish concept of courage, but this...