Scout's older brother, Jem
Finch changes considerably over the course of the novel. At first
you see him as Scout's playmate and equal. Once the children start
school, however, Jem becomes more aware of the difference in age
between himself and his sister. He doesn't want her to embarrass
him in front of his fifth-grade friends. And later he and Dill develop
a friendship from which Scout is partly excluded because she is
a girl. In this part of the story you see Jem as the wiser older
brother. He is the first to figure out that Boo Radley has been
trying to communicate with them, and he does his best to explain
unfamiliar words to Scout, even though he often gets their meanings
Jem is also the more thoughtful and introverted
of the Finch children. Unlike Scout, who is a fighter by temperament,
Jem seems determined to obey his father's request to avoid fighting.
He lets his anger build inside, until one day in a fit of temper
he destroys Mrs. Dubose's garden. Later, at the time of the trial,
Jem's optimistic view of human nature becomes apparent. He is probably
the only person in town who really believes that justice will be
done and Tom Robinson found innocent. When this does not happen,
his disillusionment is so great that for a time he can't stand even
to talk about the incident.
By the end of the story Jem is almost grownup.
On the surface, he seems quicker than Scout to put the trial behind,
but inwardly, he has been more disturbed than Scout by the events
of the trial. It is worth considering that Jem's broken arm at the
end of the story is a deliberate sign that he will be wounded forever
by what he has observed.