How Side Characters Help Jem Mature Emotionally In The Novel To Kill A Mockingbird

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

The environment surrounding a child reflects on the child’s character development. Similarly, in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee a book about misconceptions and prejudice the significant events and characters such as Mrs.Dubose, Tom Robinson’s trial and Boo Radley in Maycomb influence Jem’s emotional maturity in a positive aspect of life.

A person starts to learn how to cope with the feeling of through maturity. Mrs.Dubose is the only character in Jem’s life that has angered Jem enough for him to lose his patience and take irrational decisions. She indirectly matures him by teaching him self control. As she always insulted Jem’s father saying “your [his] father is no better than the niggers”(135) Jem does not understand that these fits are because of her morphine addiction. These remarks force him to mature him because he becomes more emotionally strong and has to resist the temptation of lashing out on Mrs. Dubose during her fits. Moreover, in chapt6er 13, the reader can infer that Jem learns his lesson with Mrs.Dubose because he advises Scout to be calm with Aunt Alexandra. Subsequently, Mrs.Dubose teaches hardships of life through her addiction to morphine. As Atticus explains, Mrs.Dubose “won all ninety-eight pounds of her.

According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody.”(149), from this, the reader can infer that she was trying to teach him the hard factors that life has to offer and also it is almost as if she was passing him the message to be brave in life and to accept every part of whom he is. Lastly, when Jem starts believe that Atticus showed courage, this gives Jem the misconception what true courage is, thus Mrs.Dubose’s personality and choices in life also shows Jem true courage in life. She set an example to Jem that true courage is not “a man with a gun in his hand”(146). Mrs.Dubose’s choice to fight her addiction shows Jem true bravery, which was being about to stand for what is right. Her personality helped him mature emotionally, and it is evident in the ending of Chapter 15.

At the Maycomb jail, Jem does not leave when he is told, and this portrays Jem’s strength to stand up for what he believed. Ergo, Mrs.Dubose is an essential character because all of her teachings, are reflected in jem throughout the novel. However, the most important lesson he learns ‘is not to be so quick to judge someone’ since he did always hate Mrs.Dubose for her rude remarks yet not knowing it was all just a side effect of her medicine.

A single-handed experience in life can teach one many lesson about life. Tom Robinson’s trial shows one of Maycomb’s harmful components which matures Jem. For instance, when Atticus and Jem discuss the outcomes of the trial, Atticus mentions “In our court, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life” (295). Atticus is teaching Jem that the world is not fair. Which matures Jem because he is starting to see that Maycomb is not the safe nutshell he once thought it was, there is so much more to people then it is shown. He starts to understand that his community has created a stereotype blinding people to bring justice to others.

Moreover, the trail portrays that no matter the colour or race injustice is an injustice and doing wrong with a righteous man, only reflects mortification on the cheater. For example when Atticus says to Jem “whenever a white man does that [wrong] to a black man. No matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes, that white man is trash”(295). This teaches Jem that cheating is a disgrace. As Mr.Ewell had lied it only brought shame to his character. This matured Jem because it taught him never to lie and not to use his colour as a cloth to cover the truth, instead to be honest and help the truth. Furthermore, Jem does not understand the negative the class difference in Maycomb, thus Tom Robinson showed Jem the racism that evolved around Maycomb.

For intense when Jem that the odds were in Tom’s favour and Tom was declared guilty by the jury, Jem says to Miss Maudie “I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that’s what they seemed like”(288). This shows the reader that Jem is now understanding the reason behind the tension between people. This lesson is also evident when Jem finally understands the reason behind Boo Radley’s stays in his home because just like no one in the community accepts the African Americans, Boo Radley was also scared of rejection. Therefore Tom Robinson’s trial is an essential event in Jem’s life because his trail teaches Jem, the flawed system in the community, cheating being a disgrace and how the world is not fair. Moreover, Jem’s character learns the most important fact of life which do not base opinions off of colour or race. The lack of interaction between one person can cause a lot of misconceptions.

Likewise The first step of maturity in Jem was when he never told anyone about how he found his pants, and he stays “moody and silent for a week” (77). This shows that Jem has started taking the first step towards becoming a pre-teen because this is his first secret that he has not told scout or dill. This event also shows how Jem’s perspective on Boo Radley has taken its first turn, portraying a spark of realization.

Secondly, Boo Radley’s identity starts to make more sense to Jem when Boo Radley begins giving gifts to Jem and Scout by putting them in a hole under the tree. However, when Nathan Radley fills the hole, realization breaks through Jem, he begins to “ crying”(84). This portrays that Jem finally breaks down; he emotionally cannot handle the frustrations since he hears something else and see something else. This teaches him a valuable lesson is that sometimes it’s best to keep out of others business so that life can be simpler.

Thirdly the lack of interaction between Jem and Boo Radley shows Jem how influenced he was through the rumours. For intense, after Tom’s trial, Jem says to Scout “ Scout, I think I’m beginning to understand something. I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time… it’s because he wants to stay inside.” (chapter 23). For intense, after Tom’s trial, Jem says to Scout “ Scout, I think I’m beginning to understand something. I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time… it’s because he wants to stay inside.” (chapter 23). This shows that Jem now understands that Boo Radley was the victim and not the perpetrator he thought as a child through the rumors.

Jem starts to understand that Boo Radley is afraid to come outside because he is scared of rejection. This shows Jem’s maturity because he connects everything that is happening in the present portraying that his level of understanding towards others is increasing. Therefore, Boo Radley’s character is significant to Jem because he brings Jem to the edge emotionally but in an indirect way. Boo Radley is never physically helping Jem mature or teaching him how influenced life is in Maycomb by the community; his presences in the town is enough to show some valuable lessons that mature him.

In conclusion, Mrs.Dubose, Tom Robinson’s trial, and Boo Radley help Jem mature emotionally as a character throughout the novel. Mrs.Dubose teaches Jem to not Judge someone through one’s exterior, Tom’s trial teaches Jem to not Judge by one’s colour or race and lastly Boo Radley teaches jem to not judge by rumors. Hence, all these characters are significant to Jem because their teachings reflect on Jem’s character throughout the novel, and it evident in the way he handles each conflict.


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