“To never go a day without learning, this is my prayer” (Unknown). Little Jem seems to be subconsciously living by this creed. Jeremy Atticus Finch is one of the leading protagonists in the potent Bildungsroman “To Kill a Mockingbird” written by Harper Lee, and published in 1960. This influential coming-of-age story depicts various analogies of growth by morphing individual accounts of development into a bigger portrait. It displays the improvement as well as the need for improvement in society as a whole. The story in the book takes place over a three year time period. Jem contributes one of the most significant examples of growth throughout the entirety of the book. He is put through many trials and is forced to push and extend the limits of his maturity. He does not have the power to decide which paths are set before him, but he does choose which road he will take. In the early stages of the novel, some of his decisions are not the wisest, but throughout the book he shows signs of growth by seeking and choosing the unpopular, yet righteous route, knowing full well the consequences that may befall him. When the unthinkable does occur, his outlook on life remains just as bright as it was before and during his fundamental growing process.
In the early stages of Jem’s appearance in the novel, he is an adventurous and slightly sneaky little boy. He, his sister Scout, and their friend Dill often spend their days fantasizing about a mysterious neighbor who lives next to them. After they hear rumors about him, through townsfolk, they start to role-play his life. Jem’s father Atticus does not approve of their games, especially since there is no factual evidence to support their fantasy. So when they play “Boo Radley”, they have to do it in secret just as this quote suggests:
“"What are you all playing?" he asked.
"Nothing," said Jem.
Jem's evasion told me our game was a secret, so I kept quiet.
"What are you doing with those scissors, then? Why are you tearing up that newspaper? If it's today's I'll tan you."
"Nothing what?" said Atticus.
"Give me those scissors," Atticus said. "They're no things to play with. Does this by any chance have anything to do with the Radleys?"
"No sir," said Jem, reddening” (Lee 40).
As Jem gets older, he begins to realize that he truly desires to please Atticus. More than that; he wants his image to replicate Atticus’ image. He understands that in order to do so he must be obedient and have integrity even if other people do not like it. One or two years later, he is presented with an opportunity to overcome his previous folly when Dill runs away from his family and Scout finds him in her room. Some of Jem’s first words are:
"You oughta let your mother know where you are," said Jem. "You oughta let her know you're here...."
Dill's eyes flickered at Jem, and Jem looked at the floor. Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood. He went out of the room and down the hall....