, Research Paper
Harper Lee?s To Kill A Mockingbird is an exemplary novel. The diversity and depth of its characters is very unique and inspiring. Each character in the novel, from Atticus Finch to Arthur Radley, gives the reader a message and sometimes a reflection of himself.
As I was reading the novel I have come to see myself as Scout’s older brother Jeremy, or Jem Finch. This character changes considerably over the course of the novel. At first you see him as Scout’s playmate and equal. Once the children start school, however, Jem becomes more aware of the difference in age between himself and his sister. He doesn’t want her to embarrass him in front of his fifth-grade friends. In many ways I can relate to this behavior. Sometimes I think my family embarrasses me infront of my friends. They sometimes do things for me because they love me but it translates into childishness to my friends. When I was younger, I was closer to my family. As I grew older I began to see things differently from my siblings. I also noticed in the story, Jem and Dill develop a friendship from which Scout is partly excluded because she is a girl. A kind of sexual discrimination but is natural in children. In this part of the story you see Jem as the wiser older brother. He is the first to figure out that Boo Radley has been trying to communicate with them, and he does his best to explain unfamiliar words to Scout, even though he often gets their meanings wrong. Again I feel as though I am walking in Jem?s shoes. In our house I do the same deeds that Jem does. I guide my sister in her mistakes and I help my brother in his mistakes. We actually help each other out, as my brother is the wisest among us, but I am the more knowledgeable. This gives way to my being a little bit selfish than my siblings. I try to be thoughtful but I am rejected in my acts, so I begin to single myself or lock myself in my own world. In reading the story we can infer that Jem is also the more thoughtful and introverted of the Finch children. Unlike Scout, who is a fighter by temperament, Jem seems determined to obey his father’s request to avoid fighting. He lets his anger build inside, until one day in a fit of temper he destroys Mrs. Dubose’s garden.
Later, at the time of the trial, Jem’s optimistic view of human nature becomes apparent. He is probably the only person in town who really believes that justice will be done and Tom Robinson will be found innocent. When this does not happen, his disillusionment is so great that for a time he can’t stand even to talk about the incident. By the end of the story Jem is almost grownup. On the surface, he seems quicker than Scout to put the trial behind, but inwardly, he has been more disturbed than Scout has by the events of the trial. I think that Jem’s broken arm at the end of the story is a sign that he will be wounded forever by what he has observed.
I think this was what struck me most in the story. Jem for me was more like Atticus than his sister was. At the start of the story he was more mature, more honorable, and optimistic in his view of life itself. By being exposed to the injustice and cruelty of human nature, he was wounded, just like any child would have been, in his views of life. I believe that whatever a child experiences when he is at a young age, is what will shape his future . The story of Jem in the novel has given strength my belief, especially since I can relate to his character. With this gift of knowledge, the book has helped me to see things differently. I treasure everyday of my life. Each day I learn and experience new things. We must live each day as if it were the last we would have on this earth. We have to seize each day and not let go until we have given our best. We are what we experience in life. It is up to us to find out how to manipulate what we experience and how we react to each day of our lives that we become who we are.