How Does Jem Change in to Kill a Mockingbird?

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 660 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 660|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Loss of Innocence
  2. Maturation and Moral Development
  3. Changing Perspectives on Courage
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, explores the journey of Jem Finch, a young boy living in the racially charged town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the 1930s. Throughout the novel, Jem undergoes significant changes in his beliefs, perspectives, and understanding of the world around him. This essay will delve into the various ways in which Jem changes throughout the novel, highlighting key moments and their implications on his character development.

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The Loss of Innocence

One of the most prominent ways in which Jem changes throughout the novel is through the loss of his innocence. At the beginning of the story, Jem is portrayed as a typical young boy, curious and eager to explore the world. However, as the events of the novel unfold, Jem witnesses the harsh realities of racism and injustice, which shatter his naive worldview. For instance, when his father, Atticus, takes on the case of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman, Jem witnesses the prejudice and discrimination prevalent in their town.

Furthermore, Jem's loss of innocence is exemplified when he and his sister, Scout, are attacked by Bob Ewell on their way home from a Halloween pageant. This traumatic event not only physically scars Jem but also emotionally scars him, making him realize the true evil that exists in their society. As a result, Jem's perception of the world becomes more complex and nuanced, causing him to question the fairness and equality that he once believed in.

Maturation and Moral Development

In addition to losing his innocence, Jem also undergoes significant maturation and moral development throughout the novel. As he witnesses the trial of Tom Robinson and the subsequent events that unfold, Jem begins to understand the importance of empathy, compassion, and standing up for what is right. He learns that people should not be judged based on their race or social status but rather on their character and actions.

One of the key moments that showcases Jem's maturation is when he forms a friendship with Mrs. Dubose, an elderly, racist woman who lives near the Finch family. Initially, Jem despises Mrs. Dubose for her prejudiced views. However, as he spends more time with her, he begins to understand the complexities of her character and the struggles she faces. This experience teaches Jem the importance of forgiveness and understanding, as he learns to see beyond people's surface-level appearances and prejudices.

Changing Perspectives on Courage

Throughout the novel, Jem's understanding of courage evolves significantly. At the beginning of the story, Jem believes that courage is displayed through physical strength and bravery. However, as the narrative unfolds, Jem learns that true courage lies in standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity and opposition.

An example of Jem's changing perspective on courage is seen in his admiration for his father, Atticus. Initially, Jem views his father's lack of physical strength as a sign of weakness. However, as he witnesses Atticus's unwavering commitment to justice and his willingness to defend Tom Robinson, Jem begins to understand that true courage is not measured by physical prowess but rather by moral integrity and conviction.


In conclusion, Jem undergoes significant changes throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. His loss of innocence, maturation, and evolving perspectives on courage all contribute to his character development. Jem's experiences in the racially charged town of Maycomb force him to confront the realities of prejudice and injustice, ultimately shaping his understanding of the world and his place within it. By exploring Jem's journey, Harper Lee provides readers with a powerful commentary on the importance of empathy, compassion, and moral integrity in the face of adversity.

Overall, Jem's transformation serves as a reminder that personal growth and development often come at the expense of innocence and comfort. Through Jem's story, readers are encouraged to reflect on their own beliefs and biases, challenging them to confront the injustices present in society and strive for a more equitable and compassionate world.

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Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2002.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

How Does Jem Change in To Kill a Mockingbird? (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
“How Does Jem Change in To Kill a Mockingbird?” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
How Does Jem Change in To Kill a Mockingbird? [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
How Does Jem Change in To Kill a Mockingbird? [Internet] GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from:
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