During Miss Maudie’s house fire Jem acts like a father figure towards Scout he even uses Atticuss’ phrase ‘ I’ll tell you when to worry’ which is very reassuring for a child. After making fun of Mr Avery by making a snowman replica of him on the day of the fire the children feel guilty when he saves miss Maudie’s furniture and they realize it isn’t what you look like on the outside when it comes to peoples values it’s what you’re like on the inside and in a difficult situation.
Jem persists in complaining about Atticus not being like a Father should be so doing what all the other contemporaries’ Dads did, for example drinking, playing football etc. Miss Maudie tries to make Jem realize Atticuss worth she says ‘he make someone’s will air tight’ but he cannot be convinced. Subsequently Atticus shoots Tim Johnson, the dog with rabies with a perfect shot, Jem is astonished and in complete awe of his Father and doesn’t protest about Atticus again. It is a fundamental time that the children earn this respect of Atticus because these are the crucial days before the trial and other people’s opinions of Atticus are minimal at this point.
Jem learns another lesson when he goes to black church with Calpurnia, he regards black people to be inferior to the white this is because of the environment he has grown up in (school etc), and so assumes that they are of no value. Therefore when Zeebo- the rubbish collector sings with a beautiful voice in front of an audience he in completely overwhelmed that he knew nothing about it. Jem is very protective of his Father as we see in the jail scene but because of Mrs Duboses racist comments that she throws at Jem and Scout about their Father it angers Jem. So he decides to teach her a lesson by beheading her Camilla’s, but the only lesson taught is by Atticus to Jem about courage. It is only after Mrs Dubose dies that he realizes her morals and bravery, she did not want to die under the influence of morphine she wanted to die cognisant and conscious- which takes a lot.
Jem is still very naïve to the fact this world that he’s living in is a white dominated place and there is no way in which Tom Robinson will win his case “We’re gonna win, Scout. I don’t see how we can’t…” Jem is clearly satisfied with the court case and assumes there is no way in which Tom will lose. After the trial and Tom Robinson loses the case Jem just cries and mutters “it ain’t right”. His expression of anger at the injustice, he cannot comprehend the situation “how could they do it, how could they?” Miss Maudie understands Jem’s distress and she tries to make it clear it wasn’t Atticus’s fault for Tom’s conviction and that he is to young to appreciate what Atticus just did. It wasn’t that people in the town didn’t care; the black people and judge Taylor cared but it was white dominated world they were living in believing they are superior to these black people.
Bob Ewell seeks revenge upon Atticus for their degradation in court; he does this by aiming at Atticus weak point- Jem and Scout. Mr Ewell attacks them with a knife but really only hurts himself, by doing this I think he only proved his guilt of raping Mayella from the trial. As a result the children finally made Boo come out since he came to save them from Bob. As Jem was unconscious he never saw Boo and I think he might feel disappointed but Boo really showed that he was human and before he had no reason to come out, as he had nowhere to go, but this time he did. Atticus reads ‘the grey ghost’ to Jem when he is unconscious, which is quite symbolic because it seems he is referring to the situation with Boo; who has been like a ghost all this time, appearing when absolutely necessary.
Near the end of the novel Jem takes on different attitudes and views that he had at the beginning for example before he just accepted that the black people were supposedly inferior to the white but now he cannot comprehend why and he asks this question over and over ‘why?’. Calpurnia anticipates this change earlier and takes to calling him ‘mister Jem’. We meet Walter Cunningham when Scout begins school for the first time, he unwillingly got her into trouble with the teacher and as a result she beat him up after school. Jem sees this and stops her, even after listening to Scouts begrudging story Jem takes pity on Walter and invites him to lunch. This shows Jem’s maturity and illustrates the growing distance between both Scout and Jem, although this is the case it doesn’t stop Jem teaching Scout what’s right and wrong even if she resents it.
In conclusion Jem’s growing maturity throughout this book is advanced for somebody of this age, his passing through many stages; puberty, a growing understanding of the world around and he find’s it all very overwhelming. He is idealistic like most young people and he wants justice and a democracy that works for the black people.