Maturation In To Kill A Mockingbird

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Jem’s maturation process is accelerated by the Tom Robinson trial when he is forced to accept harsh realities. At the beginning of part one, Jem is completely innocent. His actions and his words show that he is immature and that there are many things he does not understand. He has great hubris, or pride, and that clouds his judgement. The first prominent signs of maturation are in chapter 7. The text says, “ ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘I filled it up.’ ‘Why’d you do it, sir?’ ‘Tree’s dying.’ … ‘Is that tree dyin’?’ ‘Why no, son, I don’t think so.’ … When we went in the house I saw he had been crying...” (pg 71) Scout and Jem had been finding items in a tree knot, and Mr. Radley filled the knot with cement. Jem realizes that Boo Radley had been leaving items in the…show more content…
The turning point in his maturity occurs at the end of the Tom Robinson trial. Jem is confident that with the evidence shown in the case, the jury cannot possibly convict Tom. When he learns that the verdict is guilty, he is devastated. The text says, “It was Jem’s turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our way through the cheerful crowd. ‘It ain’t right…’ ” (pg 242) Jem had false hopes in Maycomb’s justice system. He didn’t understand that racism and the Jim Crow laws would get in the way of equal justice. His idealistic views are shattered when he learns he was wrong. Now he knows that the adult world he is entering is a lot crueler than he thought. After this point, Jem has a place as an adult, and others recognize it. He is still maturing, but more gradually now. He is questioning his beliefs more than ever, such as wondering why people like Atticus don’t sit on juries. He is also still making discoveries like realizing that the class system is real and is separated by education. By the end of the book, Jem is like a polar opposite of what he was at the beginning. He is more thoughtful, more calm, braver, and his fiery hubris has
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