In “To Kill a Mockingbird” chapter one, Scout uses the first person retrospective to create suspense.
“When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”.
This quotation makes the reader consider the events leading up to the incident and how it actually happened. The use of the first person retrospective creates suspense as the narrator knows what the outcome of the book is going to be but the reader does not. Alternatively it could be a direct link between Jem and the Tom Robinson case and that Jem’s situation with Bob Ewell and Tom Robinson has left him with a permanent scar. Scout describes that Jem’s left arm “somewhat shorter than his right”. He shares this with Tom as his left arm also hangs higher due to an accident of a cotton jim. Lee could be implying that Jem has been affected beyond repair due to his father’s involvement in the Tom Robinson case. Although Lee suggests earlier in the book that Jem’s trauma is temporary and that he will grow up to be as compassionate and understanding as his father. Atticus symbolizes a guardian of justice and at the end of the novel Lee projects an image of Atticus protecting his children; “He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”
Lee creates suspense by using simple sentences. When walking home from the pageant Jem is talking to Scout about their situation.
“I’ve got your dress here.”
“I can’t get it on in the dark.”
“Okay,” he said, “never mind.”
“Jem, are you afraid?”
Lee could of used these short sentences to show how worried Jem and Scout are and that neither of them can form a complex sentence. Alternatively it could highlight how in control Jem is of the situation and that his first thought is how he can help Scout. I feel the second statement is probably more likely as in a scenario when a strange person is following you in the dark, the majority would panic and lose control whereas Jem is calm and collected and knows what he needs to do. This also highlights Bob Ewell’s malice towards Atticus and that he would go as far as to kill his children to get back at him for standing up for a black man in court. Harper Lee uses Bob Ewell to show how serious the...