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Trisha SrikondaMrs. KirbyEnglish 9H, Block 4January 19, 2018Jem’s Bildungsroman Story in To Kill A Mockingbird”Life experience is what defines our character, even if it means getting your heart broken or being lied to. You know, you need the downs to appreciate the ups. Going on the adventure or taking that risk is important”- Nev Schulman. One character in To Kill A Mockingbird that goes through this type of life experience is Jem Finch. Throughout the novel, Jem learns many important lessons which in return helps the reader learn and develop as well. There are many challenging events Jem goes through, but the few that have the most impact on him include, his incidents with Arthur Radley, the verdict of the Tom Robinson trial, and when Atticus shoots Tim Johnson.The Radley place, the most mysterious house in the neighborhood, is also known as the home to Arthur Radley.  Arthur Radley is a very interesting character who goes from being so scary that the kids shiver just looking at his house, to being the nice friendly man who saved their lives.  Arthur has had one of the biggest impacts on Jem’s life because at first, Jem did not really know him so he judged Arthur based on what he has heard from others.  As Jem’s relationship with Arthur grows he realizes he is not so scary and he is just trying to be kind to  Jem and Scout.  For example, the first incident that helps Jem understand Arthur better, is when Arthur starts leaving presents for Jem and Scout in the tree. At first Jem and Scout did not understand that they were gifts, they thought that the tree was somebody’s hiding place, but after they received soap carving that looked like them, that is when they understood someone was leaving gifts for them.  Jem starts to suspect that it is Arthur, but he never tells Scout his theory, “‘Here let’s write a letter.’ I pushed a tablet and pencil under his nose. ‘Okay. Dear Mister…’ ‘How do you know it’s a man? I bet it’s Miss Maudie – been bettin’ that for a long time.’  ‘Ar-r, Miss Maudie can’t chew gum-‘  Jem broke into a grin” Lee, 82.  The way that Jem stutters when he says “Ar-r”, shows that he is about to say Arthur, but stops himself.   Some of the gifts that Arthur leaves for the kids are given to to them for a reason, for example the pocket watch was given to them because Arthur must have seen Jem with his grandfather’s watch and according to Jem, the indian heads are very special, “Well, Indian-heads–well, they come from the Indians.  They’re real strong magic, they make you have good luck…like long life ‘n’ good health ‘n’ passin’ six week tests… these are valuable to somebody”Lee,47.  The knife is the only thing given to the kids that does not mean anything to them, but it was Harper Lee foreshadowing.  The knife foreshadowed that Arthur would save them by killing Bob Ewell with a knife.  Another event that had the biggest impact on Jem was the verdict of the Tom Robinson trial.  During the trial, Jem learned many things, such as how people in Maycomb really think.  All this time, Jem thought that most of the people in Maycomb were kind and caring people, but it was not until after the trial that he understood the types of people that lived in Maycomb,  “It’s like bein’ a caterpillar in a cocoon, that’s what it is,” he said. “Like somethin’ asleep wrapped up in a warm place. I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that’s what they seemed like.”Lee, 288  At the beginning of the trial, Jem was so confident that Atticus would win because of all the great evidence he had, so it hurt him even more when he they lost.  Atticus and the other adults seemed to have expected this outcome, because when Jem complains to Atticus about how unfair the trial was, Atticus just responds with, “‘I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it – seems that only children weep. Good night.”Lee,285   What Atticus means by this is that, it is usually the kids are most affected by situations like this because the kids start to see people’s true personalities and how they really act when events like this occur.   Atticus is a very wise and considerate person and he is a great influence on Jem and Scout.  In chapter 10, Jem and Scout are talking to Miss Maudie about how old Atticus is and how he cannot do much, ” ‘If your father was thirty you’d find life quite different.’ ‘I sure would. Atticus can’t do anything…’ ‘You’d be surprised,’ said Miss Maudie. ‘There’s life in him yet.’ ” Lee,120. When Miss Maudie says this, she is foreshadowing Atticus killing Tim Johnson.  When Atticus kills Tim Johnson, Jem and Scout are quite shocked from seeing their father from a different angle, “‘Take him Mr.Finch.’ Mr. Tate handed the rifle to Atticus; Jem and I nearly fainted.'”Lee, 126They were very proud of their father for what he had done, and Scout wants to go tell everybody about what their father had just done and how great he is,  but Jem stops her and told her to keep quiet, “‘Don’t say anything about it, Scout,’ he said.  ‘What? I certainly am. Ain’t everybody’s daddy the deadest shot in Maycomb County.’ Jem said, ‘I reckon if he’d wanted us to know it, he’da told us.  If he was proud of it, he’da told us'”Lee, 130 This quote supports Jem becoming more mature and in a way he is becoming more like his father.  Atticus does not want to brag about his skills and Jem and decides on his own that he should respect his father’s decision and not go around telling people about the great thing their father had just done.  Like Miss Maudie says “People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.”Lee,130   Every event that takes place in our lives affect us in some way, sometimes it has a good influence and sometimes bad. The one thing that matters most is how we respond to the situation.  In To Kill A Mockingbird Jem went through many situations, such as the outcome of the Tom Robinson trial, Jem’s incidents with Boo, and when Atticus shoots Tim Johnson.  All these events caused Jem to gain maturity and start understanding people better.  As Jem learns his lessons throughout the novel, so do the readers.  When Jem goes from confident to being crushed by the end of the trial it teaches the readers that you can not always see the best in people and you need to truly understand how people really react in situations like this.  Atticus shooting the mad dog teaches the Jem and the readers that even if you have great talents  not everyone needs to know, as long as you know it is enough.  Last, but not least Jem teaches the readers that you can not judge someone without getting to know them first,  from his experiences with Arthur Radley.

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