Jeremy (Jem) Atticus Finch is a young boy who is ten at the start of the novel and is thirteen at the finish. There is not much said about his appearance, only that after Bob Ewell broke his arm his left arm was shorter than right.
Jem has a dominant personality. Out of the three friends, Jem takes the lead on their various adventures, showing that he is a natural leader. He is also very protective of Scout, even though she gets on his nerves. Jem is also quite tolerant towards Scout, even when she doesn’t act the way he wants her to. When the court decided that Tom Robinson was to be pronounced guilty Jem showed his emotions on the matter, showing that he had a deep sense of justice. As a young boy, he has a natural inclination to be curious. He is also quite brave, from his perspective and from Scout and Dill, but understands the concept of being bold better after Atticus explains it to him through examples.
Jem plays the role of Scout’s playmate and protector when they were younger. As he matured he started to take on the responsibility of teaching her how to do things as she gets older, such as teaching her to respect her elders and what to do in school. Jem represents the theme of innocence, along with the other children of the story, as well as showing the discrimination that is rampant in adults through child’s eyes who is beginning to understand the world around him. He also represents the theme of moral education, and how Atticus taught him to seek justice.
When the trial was taking place, Jem continuously thought that Tom Robinson was not guilty. He was saddened when Tom was declared guilty, so saddened that he was crying by the time Atticus finished up. This shows that he was sympathetic towards the way coloured people were being treated. Jem is also a symbol of the search for justice, as he was angry about how the case went. Jem is important to the novel, as he teaches Scout about some of the things of life that are important. He is also like a figurehead to Scout, as he is older and her main example.
One chapter that Jem dominates is chapter four, when he rolls Scout into the Radley property and created the game about the Radleys. This part really fired up the trio’s imagination about Boo Radley and his family. In this part he is represented as a child with very active imagination, as well as portraying the symbol of the innocence of children. Another chapter that Jem dominates is chapter 22 when he is outraged at the lack of justice in Tom Robinson’s trial. He represents the sight that innocence has on unjust treatment.
When writing about Jem, the narrator uses third person. This technique develops Jem’s character from Scout’s point of view. It shows us how he reacts in certain situations and how he is shown as a genuinely likeable boy through the eyes of Scout.
Throughout the novel, many phrases help us to get to know Jem better. Some examples include:
‘His face was streaked with angry tears.’-Chapter 22, after the trial. It shows us his sense of justice.
‘...I watched the spark of fresh adventure leave his eyes.’-Chapter 8, after Boo Radley put a blanket on Scout. This shows us his wide imagination and his huge curiosity.