No matter who you are you will be affected by the concept that is time. The life of which is lead can be seen with each crease that is bestowed upon the face. In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the novel is heavily impacted by time. Jem, Boo Radley, and Scout, all mature over the course of the story, but each in their own way. All three of these characters see the world through the eyes of an adolescent. The transition from seeing society like a child to an adult. The struggle, between childhood bliss and the reality of adulthood, is one that people can spend their entire lives dealing with.
The world becomes a more somber place as one ages. The activities that might have been of interest before become less fascinating. The people who surround a child see the person in a different light than if they were an adult. As a child the way they are perceived is more pliant how they will be than future. An adolescent mind is still deciding who they are, and the way they want to be seen by society. Jem, in the beginning of the book, was like any boy his age, curious, adventurous, and questioning everything around him.
He was at the stage where he wanted to be pictured as a man instead of a boy, and yet it was just a little bit too premature in his life for him to actually be one. Within the first chapter, Jem can be seen engaging in childish antics. He wants to be seen by his sister and friend one way but actually feels another. Scout says, “In all his life he had never declined a dare” (Pg. 16). Even though eventually Jem completes the dare of running up to the house and touching it, he struggles with making the decision to fulfil the child ploy or walk away and be content with his choice.
Jem shows signs of maturity when he is not interesting in these childlike endeavors anymore. An example being, when Scout tries to kill a bug without any real reason to besides that she wanted to entertain herself. “Why couldn’t I mash him? ” I asked. “Because they don’t bother you,” Jem Answered in the darkness (Pg. 320) Jem exhibits empathy which is a very adult way of thinking. Children often only think of themselves and by Jem telling his sister not to kill a bug that was not doing her any harm, he himself was showing compassion as well as teaching his sister a more grown up way of acting.
Jem understood that killing the bug was wrong just like he did when Tom Robinson was convicted. As the children leave the courthouse Jem felt empathy again, but this time for Tom Robinson. Scout says, “It was Jem’s turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our way through the cheerful crowd. “It ain’t right,” he muttered, all the way to the corner of the square where we found atticus waiting. (Pg. 284) As a man it is often thought that they do not cry, but that is not the truth. Jem, who was severely passionate about the court case, expressed emotion and showed how much he understood and cared about the trial.
As the novel progresses Jem shows that he begins to stop caring solely about himself, like a child might, but is aware of other people and how he affects them as well as others. Jem is still not fully seen as man, but is no longer a child, the way he is perceived will continue to change and grow as he does. Boo Radley, unlike the children, already according to age, is an adult. He is thirty three when the book begins and has not lived a life outside of his childhood home. He is confined to his house by his father as a teenager, and as a result of being inside for so long, begins to go mad.
Scout explains a rumor that everyone in the town has heard, she says, “According to Miss Stephanie, Boo was sitting in the livingroom cutting some items from The Maycomb Tribune to paste in his scrapbook. His father entered the room. As Mr. Radley passed by, Boo drove the scissors into his parent’s leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities. ” (Pg. 13) Boo is perceived by the entire town as a crazy man. Rumors like this, of him eating animals and harming his relatives spread like wildfire. In a sense the way that Boo acted resembled that of a child.
He did not know how to act with others, and was not able to develop social skills beyond the age of which he was keep inside. Boo was seen by the people as someone to fear, someone that was not relatable, and no one could possibly understand. The children realized that the life outside of the house was not the most welcoming and receiving of places. Jem says, “Scout I think I’m beginning to understand something. I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time… it’s because he wants to stay inside. ” (Pg. 304) The image that the Finch children had of Boo shifted in the slightest.
He became a little bit more relatable as the children considered why Boo stayed inside for so long. The way that the children view Boo continues to change even more than him becoming a little more human; he eventually is looked at like their guardian angel. Boo had been watching over the children for years. They were not only a source of entertainment through his window, but in a sense his only companions. He cared for them. He had a connection with them, even if the children did not have the same mutual feeling. Scout, at the end of the book, reminisces about Boo and his importance in their life.
Scout says, “Autumn again, and Boo’s children needed him. ” (Pg. 374) The Finches were Boo’s children. A once mysterious, scary man had now been brought into the light. No longer was he a figure of their imagination, but a real person. No longer was Boo Radley someone to fear, or make up stories about, but just another neighbor. Even though Boo’s mind might have been stuck in a phase much younger than he actually was, he found people he was able to relate with, and through his own way developed a relationship with them. Scout, being that she is the youngest of the three, presents herself differently from the other characters.
She sees the world for how it is and is not afraid to speak her mind about it. When Walter Cunningham comes to the Finch’s for dinner, the way Scout reacts is more childish than the way her brother reacts. Scout says, “He ain’t company, Cal, he’s just a Cunningham–” (Pg. 33) She is not able to realize that no matter who the person is inside your home the respectful and moral way to treat them is with kindness and fine hospitality. In this particular situation, Scout could have felt one way but presented herself in another, but that is a more adult way of acting.
Scout is continually reminded that she is aging, and some of the childish mannerisms that she has are beginning to become unacceptable. She says, “Atticus had promised me he would wear me out if he ever heard of me fighting anymore; I was far too old and too big for such childish things, and the sooner | learned to hold in, the off better everybody would be. I soon forgot. ” (Pg. 99) Physical fights are not something that a mature adult engages in often. She is coaxed into making this promise and attempts to keep it, but in the end is unable to do so.
She is putting effort into acting mature, but she is still a child and has not yet reached an age where she automatically acts this way, but is almost at that point. She exhibits growth when she responds to her aunt coming to live with her in a more sophisticated way than she did when Walter Cunningham came over. She says, “I said I would like it very much, which was a lie, but one must lie under certain circumstances and at all times when one can’t do anything about them. ” (Pg. 171) In this context she is seen acting more respectful by biting her tongue. She found great difficulty in doing this.
Scout also comes to the very difficult understanding of lying when necessary. Children are taught to never lie, but as one ages it is understood to be acceptable to lie under certain conditions; to identify when it is okay and when it is not is a crucial part of growing up. As people begin to mature the world around them changes as well. Children see the world with curious eyes and a fine sense of what is right and what is wrong. An adult sees the world with much more knowledge and experience; they take a more cautious view on what is around them. Then there are adolescents.
This is the time in one’s life where everything becomes a question. They still want to act the way that they had only a short time ago, but have deduced that it might not be morally right for them to act that way anymore. The transition from a child is very gradual and can take years to reach full completion, sometimes never coming to an end. The small changes the children as well as Boo begin to exert in the novel are only the beginning of their journey to maturing. The child inside might not be completely forgotten for it is possible to stay young at heart, while growing old in appearance.