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Write about the ways that Lee presents Jems education in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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Introduction

Write about the ways that Lee presents Jem's education in To Kill a Mockingbird. The most important form of education that Jem gets is moral education through Atticus. He knows the wrongs of the education system in Maycomb and thus is left only with his home being his educator and his father's interpretation of the experiences in Maycomb. In the beginning, Jem does not understand why his father is not like all the other fathers but is "old and blind in the left eye". He takes this as something negative because there is nothing his father can do that he can be proud of or boast about in front of his classmates. He does not understand that his father's "unpleasant job" is what will bring about change in Maycomb. ...read more.

Middle

Atticus, though the incident with Miss Debose, teaches Jem about the true meaning of courage. The juxtaposition of this event with the shooting of the mad dog in the previous chapter highlights the contrast between what Maycomb thinks is courageous (a man "with a gun in his hand") and what real courage is ("when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway"). Miss Debose's overcoming of the morphine addiction despite its withdrawal symptoms can be likened to Atticus trying to overcome the prejudice ways of society despite the fact that he will be attacked and perhaps even threatened by those who think he is a "nigger lover". Jem is surprised to see his father call Miss Debose "the bravest person he'd ever seen" despite everything she had said about him. ...read more.

Conclusion

The disobeying of his father in itself is significant. Even though his father is the closest to being good, he understands that he is almost too good and trusting of the people to be able to survive (like in his judgement of Bob's murder in the end). Jem, therefore, will not take his opinions or attitudes from anyone as they are but will shape them for himself. This foreshadows how he will become even better than his father in this fight for change. Jem not only grows to be like his father but is also able to challenge his father in aspects where perhaps he can go wrong. I think this is because he has seen both his father's world and the world of Maycomb and the attitudes within it. This means he can shape his morals and attitudes and at the same time take into account how society will react towards them and not completely isolate himself like his father does. ...read more.

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