Explore the ways Lee makes Jem’s transition from childhood to adolescence such an important and significant part of the novel
Lee makes Jem’s transgression from a child to adolescent so important as it is through Jem’s character the biggest contrast is seen by the reader. He starts the novel as a child that the reader puts in the same category as Scout, however by the end of the novel the age difference between him and Scout is far more pronounced and it is clear to see Jem’s maturing throughout the novel.
Jem begins the novel clearly as a child, concerned with seeming brave and he wrests a petty victory from Scout when he pushes the tyre with her in it down the hill. Bravery is a recurring theme for Jem’s character thoughout the novel, his idea of bravery changes as he grows up, at the beginning of the novel his idea of bravery is to touch the side of the Radley house and as the story progresses he learns about bravery from Atticus when he shoots the rabid dog, from Mrs Dubose and from Scout diffusing the situation with the lynch mob. He starts out as a carefree young child, happy to concoct games and participate in dares. He and Scout attempt to build a snowman with the fat, wet snowflakes that are not able to be moulded into a snowman, and he asks Miss Maudie ‘Could Scout and me borrow some of your snow?’ (pg 35)
As the trials looms and Maycomb works itself into a frenzy over Atticus defending a ‘nigger’, Jem’s innocence begins to fade. Both physically and mentally he begins to change, he shows Scout the one single hair on his chest, a tangible piece of evidence that he is turning into a man. In the emotional sense, he is trying to establish himself as a grown-up to Scout, he classes himself with the adults; ‘It’s different with grown folks, we—’ (pg 73) and threatens to ‘spank’ Scout is she misbehaves, this shows how he to trying to model himself on a father figure to Scout.
The obvious turning point where Jem seems to mature overnight is after the...