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Grow Up! Essay

1489 words - 6 pages

Do people ever really grow up? In all sincerity, do they ever truly grow up, or do they only grow older? Nonetheless, it is a very difficult task, growing up. Most of the time, no one ever really wants to until they are absolutely forced to. Well, that is what happened to Jem Finch. Who is Jem Finch? He is a very prominent character in a very prominent book: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Harper Lee does an exemplary job of displaying different character dynamics, like growing up (of course), through many of her younger characters, and especially through Jem Finch; although one may argue he seemed to change at a rather exaggerated pace in the book, it is quite evident that he still managed to display tremendous changes in his levels of maturity, acceptance, and responsibility.
Jem matured enormously and in various ways throughout To Kill a Mockingbird. Before his change, he was obviously the exact opposite: immature. He was inconsiderate, and he constantly made fun of his little sister, even though he loved her very much. When Jem, Dill, and Scout were going to sneak into the Radley’s yard and Scout was frightened, his reaction was anything but comforting: “Scout, I’m tellin’ you for the last time, shut your trap or go home––I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!” (58). Later on in the book, however, he learns to be compassionate and empathic when others are feeling troubled. When Aunt Alexandra and Scout are having another one of their recurring rows, this time about Walter Cunningham. Aunt Alexandra had deeply upset Scout so, instead of just watching both sides’ anger play out from the sidelines, Jem took into consideration what may happen if things became extremely unpleasant and he made sure to break up the argument himself. He additionally promptly made sure to not only remove Scout from the distasteful scene, but also to comfort her and make peace out of the turmoil inside of her, not just the turmoil on the outside. This incident, among several others in the book, displays a significant change in the kind of person Jem is. Not only does he learn to put others before himself, he also learns how to be benignant towards his sister even if he did not completely understand her feelings. This is perhaps the purest form of sympathy one could hope to find in a child; especially, in a child like Jem.
Acceptance of others is another trait that is incredibly difficult to find in a child like Jem, especially when one takes into consideration the type of people he grew up with; nonetheless, this change in Jem is still realized through different, more conducive influences. Before, although he had been raised by the unprejudiced man that Atticus is, Jem was very sectarian of people at times. Early on in the book, Jem had the horrid task of reading to Mrs. Dubose, the cantankerous old lady down the street who was coming off of her morphine addiction. Instead of enduring the burden of comforting her, however, Jem had...

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