Maturity does not always comes with age. In fact it gets deeper than age. It is about the way you see and understand things. In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird there are several major events that advance the timeline of Jeremy Atticus Finch and Jean Louise Finch coming of age. Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem) and Jean Louise Finch (Scout) experiences the coming of age through many different experiences throughout the novel. Some of the experiences involves the father named Atticus teaching them the lesson and other experiences such as Tom Robinson court trial. Throughout the novel Jeremy Atticus Finch and Jean Louise Finch transformed from naive children to mature adults and develop new attributes.
Jem mostly potarys the coming of age when he enters the puberty and becomes a young man. Moreover, Scout starts to become more independent, wiser and more able to comprehend the adult situations. One of the important lesson that Scout learns from his father Atticus is that “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” (Lee 30). In this quote Atticus is giving scout the crucial piece of moral advice that a govern her development for the rest of the novel. Scout struggles to put Atticus advice into practice and to live with sympathy and understanding others. However, she succeeds comprehending Boo Radley’s perspective when she and her brother were attacked by Bob Ewell and defended by Boo Radley. At this point, scout realizes that Boo Radley is a person with a kind heart who is just different. As she stands on Radley’s porch, Scout acknowledges her father’s lesson.
As the novel progress, Scout is getting more and more mature. Scout tries to interpret with the advice that Atticus gave her and she is trying to imply to it in her real life. “Jem stayed moody and silent for a week… So I left Jem alone and try not to bother him” (Lee 57). In this quote, she said “As Atticus advised her to do she tried to climb into Jem’s skin and walk around in it.” means that she is learning what Atticus advised her and try to use it in daily life. Furthermore, Atticus is the crucial character by whom scout learns most of the principles and moral of the life and start getting transformed from naive child to a mature adult.
Henceforth, as Scout is developing her attributes she is acting more mature. ” As her character is formed in such a faith, she develops respect even for the racist prosecutor, Mr.Gilmer… the prosecuting witness against him, on a capital charge of a rape (Shaffer 76). Even though Mr. Gilmer abuses Tom Robinson in the court while the prosecution is going on, Scout does not act the same way because of what she has learned from her father he is always polite and shows courtesy to everyone. Which shows how Scout follows her father’s footstep and becoming a mature adult.
Moreover, Scout acknowledges herself about ladies principles, common sense from Miss Maudie and some from Aunt Calpurnia she learns that there are some common principles among the ladies such as sympathy and sisterhood. Literary critic Thomas. L. Shaffer explores scout characters and her coming of age, he says “Scout, however, Who learns about truth and courage from her father and underhood Judge Taylor, has to learn practice prudence… Among ladies, the presence of collaboration in virtue is as quiet as Miss Maudie’s hand squeeze” (Shaffer 9). Scout attains a knowledge to develop herself as women. She learns that ladies do not do dramatic encounters as Atticus does with the mob in jail. Among the ladies collaboration, sympathy and sisterhood are important.
Furthermore, The ultimate tomboy, scout discovers her feminine side when she meets Dill Harris. “The fact that I had permanent fiance was little compensation for his absence. I had never thought about it but summer dill.. Sumer was the swiftness with which Dill would reach… I stayed miserable for two days” (Lee 116). In this quote the ultimate tomboy, scout discovers her feminine side when she meets Dill Harris, and they soon become intimate, even spending an innocent night together sharing her bed. But when Scout discovers that Dill will not be coming to maycomb for the summer, She is “crushed.
Since Atticus is defending a black man, Scout and Jem find themselves whispered at and taunted, and have trouble keeping their tempers. However, Atticus knew that he is not going to win the case but he is still fighting. Even though the evidence was clearly in the favor of Tom Robinson the decision was favored for Mayella Ewell because a black man word will not be trusted. ” Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win” ( Lee 76) Atticus explains to scout that he knows that he is not going to win but he is still fighting so that his children can not question his dignity and principles. Later on, the court decision was in favor of Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson was sentenced to Jail. Jem was having trouble handling the results of the trial, feeling that his trust in goodness and rationality of humanity was destroyed.
Beside that, When scout has an argument with the kids at school about her father defending the black man. Atticus as a father has to tell her rights from her wrongs. Not only did Atticus correct the fact that she fought with school kids but also catches her rude mistake when she called a man a “nigger”. So when scout asks “Do you defend niggers, Atticus?”… Atticus replies “Of course I do. Don’t say nigger scout. That is common”(Lee 75). After when Atticus corrected scout she never called a members of the black community “niggers”. Scout then gained more respect for the black community and and began to realize that everyone is equal but they do not have same rights as caucasians. This was a step forward in the scout maturity.
On the other hand, Jem is becoming responsible as he is growing as a young child. As he gets older he realizes what his responsibilities are. For Instance, When dill ran away from his home and came to Finch house. He does not want anyone to know that he was there. Yet Jem decides to tell Atticus that he was there. In this quote “you ought to let your mother know where you are” said Jem “you ought to let her know you’re here…Dill’s eye flickered at Jem looked at the floor… “Can you come here a minute sir?”(Lee 187,188). Jem is doing the responsible thing. He felt that it was necessary to tell Atticus so he did. By becoming responsible showed that Jem had matured As he gets older, he realizes what his responsibilities are and what he feels is right. Jem does the childish things with Dill and Scout. But as the Novel Progresses, Jem realizes that how immature these activities were and stopped playing with them.
In addition to Jem, now as Jem has started developing as a mature adult he started acting more like his father. “Why couldn’t I mashed him” Jem replies “I asked because they don’t bother you”(Lee 238). In this quote When scout is talking about killing a roly poly bug Jem steps in and tells scout that it is not the right thing to do because of what he has learned from the Atticus that you should not take advantage of someone that is weaker than you. In this case, scout is talking about killing a roly poly bug but Jem is advising her not to “because they do not bother you”. This quote also emphasis that how Jem is developing more like his father Atticus and understands the lessons given to him by Atticus.
Moreover, when Atticus hands their children a rifle and tell them that they can shoot whatever bird they want but not mockingbird. Atticus says “Remember it is a sin to kill a mockingbird”… “you father is right” Miss Maudie said “mockingbird don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.. But sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”(Lee 90). Through the metaphor of mockingbird’s Atticus is trying to explain the idea of mockingbird as a good innocent people. Who are destroyed by evil. Boo Radley, For Instance is like a mockingbird- Just as mockingbirds do not harm anyone “but only sings their hearts out for us”. Boo does not harm anyone; Instead he leaves Jem and Scout presents, covers scout with blanket when it was cold outside, and eventually save children from Bob Ewell. Atticus is basically teaching his children that they should not bother boo radley because he is innocent and they should leave him alone rather than bothering him.
Jem and scout develops the understanding of and adult world as they grows up through their experiences.Shelley Burkhalter on his analysis said ” when Robinson is convicted, the children are the ones who cannot accept it. Atticus’ insistence that his children learn to be tolerant and not judge people only on appearances becomes one of the moral lessons of the book”(Burkhalter 9). In this quote he demonstrates how Atticus tell his children to be firm and not to judge people based on their appearances.
To conclude, In To Kill A Mockingbird, Jem and Scout experience the coming of age through their own experiences and from the lesson given to them by their father Atticus. Scout learns a lot about adult world, femanity, and other life changing lessons throughout course of the novel. And Jem who is entering the puberty period and becoming a young boy develops his attributes even more from Tom Robinson trial and his father Atticus.