To Kill A Mockingbird – Relationship of Two Charac

ters Kill Mockingbird essaysTo Kill A Mockingbird – Relationship of Two Characters


In the beginning, all was good and calm in the lives of the Finches. Members of the family included Atticus, Jem, Scout, Aunt Alexandra, and Calpurnia. The relationship of two of the main characters, Atticus and Jem, is of particular interest.

In the beginning section of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the relationship of Atticus and Jem is simple. Jem sees Atticus as older and less active then the fathers of his friends at school. For example, Scout states, “Jem was football crazy. Atticus was never too tired to play keep-away, but when Jem wanted to tackle him Atticus would say, `I’m too old for that, son (89).'” As the story line began to progress, Jem started to admire his father. After the episode with the mad dog, Jem had said, ” ` `d you see him, Scout? `d you see him just standin’ there?…’n’ all of a sudden he just relaxed all over, an’ it looked like that gun was a part of him…an’ he did it so quick, like…I hafta aim for ten minutes `fore I can hit somethin’…(97).'” Jem no longer felt that his father was useless.

The middle section of the book shows many different sides to the relationship between Atticus and Jem. Atticus does not like to tell his children how to behave. This quote shows how Alexandra is making him tell Jem and Scout how to behave. The tension is shown easily. “Before bedtime, I was in Jem’s room trying to borrow a book, when Atticus knocked and entered. He sat on the side of the bed, looked at us soberly, then he grinned. `Er-h’rm,’ he said. He was beginning to preface some things he said with a throaty noise, and I thought he must at last be getting old, but he looked the same. ` I don’t exactly know how to say this,’ he began. `Well just say it,’ said Jem. `Have we done something?’ Our father was actually fidgeting. `No I just want to explain to you that-your Aunt Alexandra asked me… son, you that you’re a Finch, don’t you?’ `That’s what I’ve been told.’ Jem looked out of the corners of his eyes. His voice rose uncontrollably, `Atticus, what’s the matter?’ Atticus crossed his knees and folded his arms. `I’m trying to tell you the facts of life.’ Jem’s disgust deepened. “I know all that stuff,’ he said. Atticus suddenly grew serious. In his lawyer’s voice, without a shade of inflection, he said: ` Your aunt has asked me to try to impress upon you and Jean Louise that you are not run-of-the-mill people, that you are of gentle breeding,’Atticus paused, watching me locate an elusive redbug on my leg. `Gentle breeding,’ he continued when I had found and scratched it, `and that you should try to live up to your name-,’ Atticus persevered in spite of us: `She asked me to tell you that you must try to behave like the little lady and gentlemen that you are. She wants to talk to you about the family and what its meant to Maycomb County through the years, so you’ll have some understanding of who you are, so you might be moved to behave accordingly,’ he concluded at a gallop (133).”

Jem always likes to know what is going on. Sometimes, Atticus will not show Jem respect and tell him what is really going on. ” ` They were after you weren’t they?’ Jem went to him. ` They wanted to get you didn’t they?’ Atticus lowered the paper and gazed at Jem. `What have you been reading?’ he asked. Then he said gently, `No son, those were our friends.’ `It wasn’t a- a gang?’ Jem was looking from the corners of his eyes. Atticus tried to stifle a smile but didn’t make it. `NO, we don’t have mobs and that nonsense in Maycomb (146).” However, the group was really there to tell Atticus off for defending Tom. There are several evidences of great respect between them however. One was when Jem told Atticus about Dill’s appearance under Scout’s bed. He showed that he had respect for telling Atticus the truth. ” He went out of the room and down the hall. `Atticus,’ his voice was distant. `can you come in here a minute sir?’ (141).” When Jem, Scout and Dill showed up at the jail, Atticus made Jem appear to be old and responsible with this quote: ” Go home Jem,’ he said. `Take Scout and Dill home’ (152).” Several instances show that Jem and Atticus are very affectionate towards one another. ” ` Sort of. She won’t let him alone about Tom Robinson. She almost said Atticus was disgracin’ the family. Scout… I’m scared.’ `Scared’a what?’ `Scared about Atticus. Somebody might hurt him.’ (147).” Throughout the middle portion of the book, many sides of their relationship shown are through respect, disrespect and affection.

As the story ended, the state of Atticus and Jem’s relationship was stable and strong. Atticus now acted as more of a father figure towards Jem. ” He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning (281).” Jem could now look to Atticus as a father figure in times of need. In addition, when Jem was in need of a peer, Atticus was there to help him. He would answer Jem’s questions and discuss topics concerning Jem. For example Jem had a question about the Ku Klux Klan and Atticus replied, ” ` Way back about 1920 there was a Klan….besides they couldn’t find anyone to scare (147).” Atticus had answers for everything. Even though after the trial Jem is cautious towards his father because he saw his father loose for the first time, he knows he can count on Atticus as a father and as a friend.

In conclusion, over the course of time a relationship had been built, faltered and finally became strong. Atticus and Jem built a relationship that would last them an eternity. Due to the hard work and hardships put into this relationship, it became very important and special. It is not everyday that you see a significant relationship like the relationship of Atticus and Jem.

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