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Noteworthy Courage

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1073
  • Category: Courage

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Everyone has seen an act of courage before. No matter how big or small, they have. Most people would courage is running into a burning building to save a child trapped inside was courage but it can also be displayed in many other ways such as being defensive, caring, and brave. Jem Finch changes from an innocent child to a mature teenager. One might think that because he is a dynamic character, he is not dependable, yet he is. In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Jem Finch is the most courageous character because he protects Scout, stands up for himself and his family and is audacious regarding the mystery of Boo Radley.

Jem shows an amazing amount of protectiveness towards Scout. Scout stands up for a boy named Walter Cunningham on her first day of school. She got in trouble with her teacher and when Scout finds Walter outside, she fights him but Jem stops her. He tells her “to stop”(Lee, 30). Scout still refuses. Again Jem says for Scout to “’Let him go’” (30). Jem doesn’t want Scout to get into anymore trouble anymore. He is courageous because he thinks for his little sister. At night, Scout, Dill and Jem go to the Radley house. A shadow comes and scares them off. Jem urges Scout to hurry when they are running away. Jem “shooed us [Scout and Dill]” and tells Scout to ’”Hurry’” (71). Jem is a responsible brother. One might only think of themselves in a situation like that, especially a child, but Jem thinks of Scout as well. The children are spying on their father while he encounters a mob at the jailhouse.

Scout recognized someone in the mob and rushes out to say hello. “I [Scout] broke away from Jem and ran” (202). Jem tries to react quickly. He “tried to catch me [Scout]” (202). He senses, but he could not stop her in time. Jem and Scout are walking through the woods and Bob Ewell sneaks up and attacks them. While he fights Ewell away, Jem yells for Scout. “’Run, Scout! Run! Run!’” (351). Scout falls and Jem “was up like lightning and pulling me with him” (351). Jem looks after Scout very well. Scout finds a piece of gum in hole in a tree on the Radley property. She comes home and shows him what she found. Jem gets angry and says “’Don’t eat things you find, Scout’”…’Spit it out right now!’”(44-45).He felt uncomfortable with her eating something that was from the Radley’s and was protective to tell her to spit it out.

There are powerful parts of the book when Jem stands up for himself and his family. While sneaking around, Jem gets his pants stuck in the Radley fence. He starts to go back in the middle of the night but wakes Scout, who doesn’t want him to go alone. She offers to accompany him but he firmly refuses to accept. “Jem grabbed my pajama collar and wrenched it tight. ‘Then I’m goin’ with you—‘I choked. ‘No you ain’t’”(Lee 75-76). As much as Scout would plead, he would stand decisively. Mrs. Dubose, the neighborhood grouch said Atticus was “’no better than the niggers and trash he works for!’” (135). Jem gets very angry and “did not begin to calm down until he had cut the tops off every camellia bush Mrs. Dubose owned, until the ground was littered with green buds and leaves” (137).

Jem stood up for his father and would not just take the negativism towards him. Scout, Dill and Jem are at the jailhouse with Atticus and the mob. Atticus tells Jem to “’[go] home’” (203). Jem felt he was mature enough to stay and “was not thinking of budging” (203). “’Son, I said go home’. Jem shook his head.” (203). Most children would listen to their father and set off home, but Jem Finch wants to stay so he determinedly did not back down. Scout and Jem are walking home at night in the woods when Bob Ewell attacks them. Scout, the narrator, cannot see anything but she hears “scuffling, kicking sound, sounds of shoes and flesh scraping dirt and roots” (351). Jem is fighting back and would not just let Ewell hurt him of his sister.

Although, the children are scared of Boo Radley, their mysterious neighbor they have never seen before, Jem does valiant stunts, regarding Boo that Scout and Dill are too anxious to perform. Dill dares Jem to go up and touch the side of the Radley house. After days of nagging, Jem finally “sped to the side of the house, slapped it with the palm of his hand” (Lee 18). In this part of the book, actually touching the house is significant for the children, because they are young. Scout, Dill and Jem are playing roll the tire outside. Scout ends up rolled onto the Radley yard. She is terrified and runs away, not thinking of bringing the tire with her. “[Jem] dashed in and retrieved the tire” (50). No matter how frightening it sounded, he was determined to get the tire back, not concerning who might have been watching him for inside the house, so he daringly repossessed it.

Scout, Dill and Jem had the idea to give a note to Boo through his window. Jem “crawled to the window raised his head and looked in” (71). He gallantly did what Scout and Dill did not want to do. While fleeing from the Radley house, Jem gets his pants stuck sneaking under a fence. He slips out of them quickly and ran away. Back home, his father and neighbor are talking about how Mr. Nathan Radley, another resident at the Radley home, saw someone (Jem) in his yard and shot at them. In the middle of the night, Jem decides he is “’goin’ after ‘em’” (74), just in case Nathan was to recognize the slacks as his. To think that Jem was once shot at, but to go back and risk getting shot at again was mystifying and valiant.

People who read t book might think Jem is a childish character that does not listen to his father, neglects his sister and is scared of Boo Radely. Yet if they would look deeper into the book, they would see that Jem grows into this young courageous preteen who is not stubborn, protective and brave.

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