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Coming Of Age In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

1150 words - 5 pages

Everyone goes through different changes as they grow up. Maturing, coming of age, and doing the right thing are important themes in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. This theme is most often seen in the character Jeremy “Jem” Finch. He portrays this theme when he begins to enter puberty and becomes a young man. Jeremy starts to become more independent, wiser and more able to comprehend adult situations; Jem begins to get a better grasp on things. Other characters that demonstrate this theme are Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, and Arthur “Boo” Radley. Harper Lee shows how Scout comes of age in similar ways to Jem. Scout begins to grow up and become more tolerant of others by “putting herself in another person’s skin”. Boo displays his “coming of age” in a somewhat different way than Jem and Scout. There’s a scene in To Kill A Mockingbird where Boo has the chance to do the right thing by putting himself in harm’s way in order to save lives, and he takes the chance. To Kill A Mockingbird is a book that is overflowing with the theme “coming of age” (whether it is shown through the main character or others). This theme is important to the story because these characters are a small example of the changes that Maycomb needs to undergo. Jeremy Finch is the character in which this theme is most represented in.
At the start of Part Two, Jem starts to grow to be a more mature person and develop a want for wisdom and knowledge. “In addition to Jem’s newly developed characteristics, he had acquired a maddening air of wisdom.” (116) In this quote, Calpurnia is speaking to Scout letting her know that the reason for Jem’s sudden changes is that he is growing up and is almost a young man. Jem is beginning to mature mentally. Jem wants to become more intelligent, more evolved. He does this by constantly reading and thinking to himself. During this time he begins to see how wrong racism is. This is something that the town needs to go through because their ordeal with racism is getting out of hand. The town needs to have a want for evolving and becoming better in itself. Only then would it be able to put a stop to it’s racism and be in a better harmony. Besides his mental maturity Jem continued to “come of age” in a social manner.
When Jem hits twelve years old he goes through some social changes. “He is difficult to live with, inconsistent, and moody.” (115) Jem comes to the point in growing up that he’s not always very happy yet he would soon come out of that phase too. Again, the town of Maycomb needs to follow Jem’s example of getting out of the stage that their in. Maycomb is in a depressant stage where racism rules the town and causes constant hardship for everyone. People are caused a great sadness due to the racism that the town needs to get rid of. The town is a larger version of Jem’s small phase. Maycomb’s racism is causing death and causing a harsh environment for many people. Court cases due to racism mean humiliation for some citizens for some people and...

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