Accelerated English II
9 December 2014
Innocence to Maturity
The deeply moving novel To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee is a classic that demonstrates how an individual can grow physically and mentally. The most dynamic character that best portrays this is Jem. Jem starts off as a normal adolescent who plays games, loves football and enjoys the simplicities of life. However, due to the teachings of Atticus, Jem develops self-control, starts thinking more like an adult, and understands the world and loses his innocence and matures.
After Jem’s meeting with Mrs. Dubose, he learns the value of self-control. Mrs. Dubose is impolite and irritable, and cruel to Jem and Scout. Jem hates her “he did not begin to calm down until he had cut the tops off every camellia bush” (103). At this time Jem still had many childlike behaviors. When Atticus punishes Jem by making him read to Mrs. Dubose each day for a month, it forces Jem to discipline himself, bite his tongue, and be civil to Mrs. Dubose. By learning to control his impulses and show kindness even though he might not necessarily feel it, Jem takes a stride towards adulthood.
Due to the teachings of Atticus, Jem initiates change in his ways. Jem begins to leave behind his old childish customs and starts to act like an adult. “Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood” (141). Jem broke through the last rule of childhood known and enforced by all kids; the no-tattling rule. That was the moment it became clear that Jem had matured, he knew it was right thing to do by telling Atticus about Dill running away. Jem also knew that Atticus would be