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Paths To Adulthood Essay

1220 words - 5 pages

Jeremiah Atticus “Jem” Finch, the older brother of the Scout, transitions into adolescence during the course of To Kill a Mockingbird. At the start of the novel, he is Scout’s constant playmate, and being four years her senior, he tries to protect her.
As a “born hero,” Jem is always the star of the plays that the Scout and Dill, their summertime playmate, create.
“Jem’s head at times was transparent: he had thought that up to make me understand he wasn’t afraid of Radleys in any shape or form, to contrast his own fearless heroism with my cowardice.” (pg. 21)

Jem is also constantly searching for loopholes in Atticus’s rules, convinced that he could avoid punishment, proving that he is ...view middle of the document...

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.’” (pg. 121)

At thirteen, Jem has effectively lost his faith in humanity. In the three years that the novel spans, he has rapidly moved through maturity and emerged as a young gentleman.
Charles Baker “Dill” Harris, Jem and Scout’s close friend and summer neighbor, has a unique perspective as an outsider to Maycomb. Dill represents summer for Scout and Jem, and his imagination greatly stimulates their escapades. “We came to know Dill as a pocket Merlin, whose head teemed with eccentric plans, strange longings, and quaint fancies.” (pg. 4) Dill is a storyteller, and often concocts elaborate backstories for himself. While the constant fabrications anger Scout, she learns that “one must lie under certain circumstances and at all times when one can’t do anything about them.” Dill’s experience with his immediate family also helps Scout appreciate how much her family, unlike his, appreciates and needs her. At the trial, Dill’s position as an outsider and sensitivity to the intolerance that surrounds him gives one a different model of how to process the injustice. Even Scout is able to accept the way Tom is treated in court, but it drives Dill to cry uncontrollably. Only Mr. Raymond, a white man with a black mistress, can put his feelings into words.
“‘Things haven’t caught up with that one’s instinct yet. Let him get a little older and he won’t get sick and cry. Maybe things’ll strike him as being— not quite right, say, but he won’t cry, not when he gets a few years on him.” (…) “Cry about the simple hell people give other people—without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give colored folks, without even stopping to think that they’re people, too.’” (pg. 107)

Since Dill is older than Scout, his behavior towards the trial further emphasizes how much the culture of Maycomb has forced her to grow up at a hurried speed.
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, the narrator and protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird, also goes through a transformational journey. She begins the novel as an innocent, tomboyish, and peculiar five year old with a high level of both intelligence and confidence. Scout has had no contact with the evils that exist in the world, and is unable to comprehend the prim...

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