To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee by Jean Armstrong (auth.)

By Jean Armstrong (auth.)

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This is the final example of the warmth and security enjoyed, and taken for granted, by Scout and Jem in their family life. It is interesting to note that Atticus uses the time to get to know his children better, by reading the books that they read, finding in them the message he has being trying to convey. So the novel begins and ends with Jem. This emphasises his place in the narrator's world, he is the 'born hero' around whom Scout's life has revolved during her childhood. It also points to Jem as the 'hero' of the novel because in his development from a child into an adult, we find hope for future Maycombs.

He cannot understand it. Even Aunt Alexandra is affected, and shows her sympathy by calling Atticus 'brother', something we have not heard her do before. But although Atticus is too exhausted to offer Jem any further sympathy, by morning he has regained his usual balance and is considering the appeal. The negroes have shown their appreciation of Atticus' stand on their behalf and have sent piles of food, which suggests the epic quality of their gratitude just as Scout's description of them in the courtroom suggested the epic quality of their patience.

Miss Maudie relates his background to Scout but it does not seem to make any difference to the way she feels about him, as we see in Chapter 6 when the children make their night visit to the Radley house. In Chapter 7 Jem begins to understand something of Boo's real existence. He has already had qualms about the game 'One Man's Family' when Atticus disapproves of it, but it is not until he finds his trousers repaired that Boo's real character begins to fall into place. When Nathan Radley fills the tree hole, Jem realises what kind of life Boo is condemned to live and is so moved by this discovery that he weeps.

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