Monday, May 2, 2011

A New Chapter in Jem and Scout's Relationship?

After Jem and Dill decide to sneak around the Radley place in order to try and get a look at Boo Radley; Scout tells them that it is a really bad idea and Jem responds by saying, "I declare to the lord you're getting more like a girl everyday!" Jem and Dill do not listen to Scout's warnings and while sneaking around the Radley mansion Jem, Dill and Scout make too much noise and are scared away when Mr. Radley fires his gun. While making a fast break Jem gets stuck under a fence and is forced to take off his pants in order to get free.
Later in the middle of the night Jem decides he needs to go back and find them. Scout argues with him and she threatens that she will tell Atticus if he decides to do this. This is when Scout states, "It was then, I suppose, that Jem and I first began to part company." In the previous chapters there was already drama brewing between the two siblings as the difference between their genders began to develop as a major difference between them. Dill and Jem had began to exclude Scout from their daily activities and Scout is left alone with only Ms. Atkinson to spend time with.
The change in their relationship could also be described as a result of their age difference as well. With Jem growing up he may begin to feel more and more distant from his little sister and he may not want to hang around her as much.
Regardless, with the knowledge that the line "It was then, I suppose, that Jem and I first began to part company" is foreshadowing future events in the story in what ways do you think Jem and Scout's relationship is going to change? Why do you think it is going to change? What role, if any does gender play in this situation?

11 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. s of now they are already farther apart than they were at the begining of the story. I think that gender also is playing a large role in this. Jem is starting to exclude her from Dill and his activities, saying that she is too much of a girl.This forces Scout to have to go spend more time with Miss Maudie, a girl. I think that as the next summer comes and Dill comes that Dill will cause them to grow even farther apart. Dill just wants to be known as one of the guys so he hangs out with Jem and they will continue to exclude Scout even more. I think that the one thing that binds the three kids together is their intrest in Boo Radley. Like the town, they are interested in the Radley's secrets and affairs. The only thing that seems to keep the three together anymore is their intrest in the Radleys. The only time they are all together is when they are going to peek in the Radley's house, or when they used to play "the Radley's" game together. I think that because of gender, Dill, and age, Scout and Jem will continue to grow apart, but their common intrest in the Radley's is the only thing keeping them together, and it is the only thing that has the potential to bring them all even closer as the story progresses and secrets are unveiled .

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  3. Scout and Jem are fundamentally different people, and their differences are starting to create serious rifts in their relationship. Jem is a very impulsive person. He likes to have fun and does risky things, like peeking in the Radley's house, without thinking of the consequences. At night, after their attempt to see Boo Radley, Jem says, "We shouldn' a done that tonight, Scout." Jem is admitting that what they did was wrong, but he never accepts that Scout was right to warn them against going, and he never apologizes to her. Scout is a very thoughtful person, who would rather be safe than sorry, and so she is a bit frustrated when Jem doesn't respect her enough to admit that she had the right idea. This is when she first starts to see the changes in her relationship with Jem. I think that Scout and Jem's different ways of thinking will become even more of an issue as they age and the book continues.

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  4. In addition to what has already been said, I would like to add that Jem's increasingly pronounced stereotypes toward gender can also easily extend to race and other such traits. As the book continues, will Jem become more prejudiced over time?
    On the other hand, the age difference is a complex subject. At this point in time, it appears to be growing, because social pressures to take age into account are becoming more powerful. However, once this pressure maxes out, the age difference will begin to matter less, as the ratio of Jem's age to Scout's age will shrink over time, but this point is likely not be reached within this book, and so Jem is likely to become more and more distant over time.

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  5. One of the first things that made them start to grow apart was Dill. Dill was a new boy to play with, and since playing with a girl is better than playing with a boy, Jem wants to play with Dill more than he wants to play with Scout. At the beginning of the story Scout says, "He (Jem) said it began the summer Dill came to us.
    Another big thing that is forcing them apart is growing up, and age. As you get older, you start to realize differences between you and your sibling/close friend. Sometimes, there is a time where you are too immature to let go of those differences and can't find similarites in one another that people drift apart

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  6. I agree that gender plays a major role in the situation, particularly the negative connotation with "girl." Jem continues to accuse Scout of acting like a "girl." This is either because he does not understand that his sister is, in fact, female, in which case I would strongly advise Atticus to have a little chat with him, or that he has decided, as many boys do, that men are superior. The latter is a definite possibility, although I am not so sure about the former. He thinks that girls are not brave, tattle a lot and should never be allowed to play boys games. But, most importantly, girls cannot keep secrets and should never be trusted or listened to, much less obeyed.

    I also agree that this is a very obvious piece of foreshadowing by the author, as the sentence "it was then, I suppose, that Jem and I began to part ways." is very reflective, as if the speaker has been pondering for a long time when exactly it was that this occurred. Also, it implies that their ways became more dramatically parted in the future, because this was just the beginning. It tells of more conflicts and clashes of interests between the siblings.

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  7. As Jem matures, he begins to regard Scout more as an aggravating younger sister than as a friend. He feels prominent based on age and gender, presuming that based solely on his superiority, he has the right to instruct her on every action. He is aware that Scout looks up to him as a younger sibling (“I admired my brother.” Pg 73) and abuses that power by discouraging Scout about her “immaturity” and “acting like a girl.” He often tries to prove to her his sophistication and toughness, but his sensitive/emotional side is revealed when he confides in her about finding the pants.
    Allyson brought up a really interesting point that it is only their mutual interest in the Radley's that links them as friends. If it is possible that it is only Boo Radley that is keeping them together, what will need to happen for them to grow back together? Is their relationship broken or just tarnished?

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  8. I think that this is definitely foreshadow as Harper Lee has used it a few times before. It may affect what they do and how they do it by the fact that Jem will exclude Scout from what he and Dill do. I think he will also treat her differently which may make her act differently. Scouts gender really seems to be an issue with Jem for everything she does and whatever she does that doesn't please Jem is because she is a girl so its her fault and she must do what he says to stop being a girl.

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  9. I agree that there is some foreshadowing going on here. In my opinion, Jem and Scout's relationship will remain strained for the next few chapters, but at some point in the book a major event will change their relationship for better or for worse. Gender plays a large role in Scout and Jem's friendship. If Scout behaves like a "girl", Jem instantly scolds her. This goes on until Scout begins to think that being a girl is a bad thing. I think that Jem's disapproval of all things "girly" comes partly from himself, but also from Dill. Jem does not tell Scout she is being a girl until they meet Dill. When Jem and Dill become friends, Jem realizes what it is like to play with a boy his age. He then begins to compare Dill to Scout. Jem also tries to prove to Dill that he is tough by walking past the Radley house, when he usually runs. Some of his actions towards Scout are probably an act for Dill, who to Jem and Scout seems very sophisticated.

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  10. Jem and Scout were friends as kids because they could play with each other. Jem couldn't find anyone else to play with, so he was happy to play with Scout. But this all changed when Dill comes. Jem finds a boy he can relate to more than Scout and begins to distance himself from his sister. Jem's demeanor changes and he becomes a different person. He is more daring, as there is Dill to push him, and he becomes more judgmental toward his relationship with Scout. Gender plays a large role at this time, as it gives Jem a reason to push himself away from Scout. So he can ignore her and join Dill in "manly" affairs. I feel the relationship between Jem and Scout will dissipate, to an extent. Also, Jem will soon prevent Scout from being able to play with him or his friends. Jem is growing older and is about to go to the middle school, like in the story, A Scarlet Ibis, he is worried that his sister will cling to him when he is at school.

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  11. I think that as Jem and Scout, and particularly Jem, grow older and get more mature, they will notice more of what happens in Maycomb, and that big boys don't play with big girls. I definitely think that Scout's gender, and the addition of Dill, is influencing Jem to move away from her. Now that he has two playmates to choose from, he's seeing the differences between Maycomb's expectations of boys, and their expectations of girls. "Stop acting like a girl," he tells Scout constantly. I don't think Jem means this or knows exactly what he's saying, but he has gleaned the association that older girls don't play the way boys play. I think that their relationship will change in the future because they will begin to act differently in the future, receiving and interpreting important plot information in different ways. When trouble comes, Scout will be expected to act like a girl, and might flounder if she doesn't have Jem to guide her on her journey. In response to Amanda's question, I believe that Jem and Scout share much more than their fantasies of Boo Radley, they share a common upbringing and moral code, a shared love for Atticus, Dill, and each other, and that will bring them closer in the end. Why do you think Harper Lee chose to have the older sibling a boy, and the younger sibling a girl? Why is the narrator a girl and the sibling a boy?

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