Essay question: Analyse how the experience of a character were used to comment on society
The experience of the guilty verdict in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ affected the character Jem Finch and was utilised to comment on society’s actions. The court case highlights Jems ‘journey to adulthood’ as after the guilty verdict he notices the social issues in Maycomb and how it’s a place of discrimination.
Harper Lee shows how everyone is a product of their society, which Jem realises after the guilty verdict how Maycomb is corrupted of discrimination and disadvantages for the black community. Jem loses his childhood innocence and endures to his journey to adulthood, becoming mature and more aware of the social issues in Maycomb.
Jem Finch was appalled by the guilty verdict and was stated in the book “I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each ‘guilty’ was a separate stab between them.” Jem innocence takes a blow as he confronts the harsh reality of living in a racist society. Jem who is 12 years old is agitated by the injustice in the court case, as Atticus(Jem father and lawyer for Tom Robinson) has tried to protect him from reality as much as he could till this moment. He has lost faith in Maycomb because of the injustice within the legal system, as Tom Robinson had an unlawful advantage because of his colour. Jem has realised Maycomb is a fabricated place where it looks good on the outside, but if you look deeper you will see the harsh reality of discrimination.
Jem is having to adapt and adjust to maturing to a young adult in Maycombs environment, as he is going to start having an opinion on the communities prejudice society. Atticus stated to Jem; “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view until you walk on his skin and walk around on it.” Atticus teaches Jem many life lessons which encourages him to consider things in different perspectives to get everyone’s point of view before making assumptions. He is taught that it’s not worth losing ones temper over someone else inability to control their own. Jem is on his journey to adulthood, although there are various obstacles he may face throughout his journey. Jem has learned that Maycomb consists of different social classes having a more complex understanding of how Maycomb’s society works.
Jem is identified as a ‘mockingbird symbol’, as he is an innocent child who has been destroyed by evil. He is the third last mockingbird as he is innocent, but suffers from the sins from others, as when he was attacked by Bob Ewell. There is also a connection between Jem and Tom Robinson as they both have a similar injury which will affect them for their whole life. Particularly near the end of the novel, it becomes more apparent that he symbolizes the mockingbird. In the novel it’s noted that;” its a sin to kill a mockingbird,” as they have good hearts, and if someone tried to hurt a ‘mockingbird’ then it would be a grave sin.
Everyone commences their own journey to adulthood at different stages and times in their life(mainly in their teenager years), which is an important step to adulthood and gives their perspectives on topics. Modern society has a big impact on teenagers journey to adulthood, as they are surrounded by their opinions on matters.
In conclusion, the experience of the guilty verdict affected the character Jem Finch and was utilised to comment on society’s actions. This is important to the real world because it shows how the effect of an experience has on children/teenagers. The journey to adulthood is a big step in a teenagers life, as it’s their times to find who they are and their perspective on the things, that are happening in the world today such as the ‘ Black lives Matter’ movement. Making mistakes is important and necessary for growth to develop to young adults.