Jem comes into age
Everyone must come of age at some point during their life by learning new lessons, seeing the monstrous world, and overcoming challenges. In the story, to kill a mocking bird, Jem is starting to come of age. He gains new knowledge and matures from past childhood behavior; physically, mentally, and intellectually. He gains new experiences and loses his innocence. The effect of killing a mocking bird will be introduced, along with its severity on the amount of influence it has with many people in the story, especially Jem. He makes newly developed perspectives of boo’s and tom’s way of life and on the world, he perceives. Harper Lee forms the universal theme, coming of age, through Jem.
In the beginning of the story when Boo/Arthur Radley was younger, he used to want to be part of the world, and joining, “The nearest thing to a gang ever seen in Maycomb,” (Lee 12). After the gang and his work got to its worst peak, he must have regretted what he saw and did, for he stayed home locked up, away from outside influences and not wanting to harm anyone. He went to be like a mocking bird. Atticus talked about one and the severity of killing one. “shoot all the blue jays you want if you can hit’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (Lee 119) Later Jem comes into the story. He played with Scout and Dill, with an age of ten or eleven. He passes his time and is having a vague thought about the world around him. Before turning into older age, Dill and Jem want to make boo Radley come out, maybe even by force, without thinking the reasons for why boo Radley was staying inside. Jem keeps being closed to his mind until later problems are introduced, like Tom Robinson’s case, and grows to be twelve. Jem learns why Boo Radley has been staying inside. “I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley stayed shut up in the house all this time… it is because he wants to stay inside.” (Lee 304) He has had time to think about the reasons, time to expand and make connections with events he experienced. Fueling Jem up with a myriad of emotions, and pondering over the events that had just occurred.
Later in the story, Tom Robinson has had to pass everyday past Mrs. Mayella Ewell’s house to and from work every day. Minding his own business, until Mayella asked tom to help her with chores. Tom, being a good person, decided to help her. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.” (Lee 119) like the mocking bird all Tom was trying to do was to help Mayella, but what did Tom get? A trial against him. Mayella did what her town considered a sin, harming Tom Robinson and his family, subconsciously harming the mockingbird. Jem saw as this injustice was done against this poor man and saw as his dad was staring to prove tom’s innocence with circumstantial evidence Tom Robinson was innocent, Jem thought for sure his dad would win, but he did not win. That was too much for him to take. Jem “streaked with angry tears,” (Lee 285). At first Jem did not understand how could an injustice like that be done to a poor black man, after Atticus had showed everyone that the truly guilty person was Mr. Ewell, he even got angry at scout when she tried to talk to him a little bit about the case. This would be one of the factors that would strengthen him as he grows. He learns that the world is cruel, unjust, and normal. It’s not just fun and childhood games. After all of this happened, he saw. A really bad thing occurred, the town’s people act like nothing had just happened.
Mr. Bob Ewell wanted revenge for Atticus figuring out what he did. After Tom’s death, Bob said he had two more to get. “He keeps pestering everyone connected to that case.” (Lee 335) All Jem ever did was to get emotional over tom’s case, but nothing directly to Mr. Ewell. Eventually Mr. Ewell did what Atticus had previously said, “He had to take it out on somebody.” (Lee 293) As the mocking bird being shot at, Mr. Ewell had tried to kill Jem, but only broke his arm. Later scout stated “Jem wasn’t scared.”(Lee 332) After all that Jem had gone trough, he was prepared for this. Jem not being scared showed his growth because he was stronger when this happened. If this occurred when he was smaller he would have reacted like he reacted for tom’s case but since he got over it he was able to stay strong and never screamed in terror but pain, and was being protective over scout. Jem had come into age that he was old enough to take the situation calmly.
In all Jem has growed up during the story and gotten stronger after each event. Jem learns new lessons through Boo Radley, he learned how to get up after being brought down through Tom and was prepared for the final event of when Mr. Ewell tried to harm Jem. The worst of crimes in the town occurred, the mockingbird was killed and Jem truly came into his grown self.