Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Standing up or Backing Down?

In Chapter 11, Jem gets very angry at Mrs. Dubose because she keeps insulting his family. Even though Atticus told them to ignore people's comment, Mrs. Dubose knew she got to Jem last nerve when she said, " 'Yes indeed, what has this world come to when a Finch goes against his raising? I'll tell you!' She put her hand to her mouth. When she drew it away, it trailed a long silver thread of saliva. 'Your father's no better than the niggers and trash he works for!' "(Page 102) The next thing we know is, Jem takes Scouts baton and cut the tops off every camellia bush Mrs. Dubose owned. Was Jem's action appropriate? Did he do the right thing for standing up for his family or should he have not let anger get in control of him and backed down?

His punishment for losing control of his anger, was reading to Mrs. Dubose for two hours a day, and had to work on the camellia's, every Saturday, until they grew back. He reads to her everyday and does not understand why he has to, until she dies. Atticus tells Jem, that his reading to her may have been some distraction, so she would not have to think about her fits. Also, Mrs. Dubose gives a candy box to Jem with a "white, waxy, perfect camellia" after she dies. Why do you think that Jem acts so vile against this box, and do you think that Jem learned any lesson during this experience?

14 comments:

Super Spy 1 said...

I don't think Jem's actions were appreciated, but at the same time Mrs.Dubose's comments weren't either. Jem should have left and ignored her like his father said, but sometimes people can't hold in their anger for long. In the end when she died, i was kind of surprised. I believe that what she sent to Jem was sweet in hopes that he would understand, but he was upset now knowing new information as to of why she acted like she did.

Imoen said...

I can understand how Jem would feel. Personally, my first instinct would be a violent course of action. Even so, I don't think that Jem had an excuse to beat up the poor old woman's flowers.. I mean, imagine if that old lady were your grandmother or something... You wouldn't stand there and say "Oh well, grandma had it coming." would you? You'd be on a manhunt for the destroyer of your dear grandmother's flowers, right?

Super Spy 2 said...

I do not think that Jem's actions were apropriate although i cannot say that i wouldnt have done the same thing. I also think that Atticus was disappointed in Jem for not being able to control his temper, but at the same time rateful for what Jem was trying to do for him, and also grateful because it gave Atticus an excuse for "punishing" Jem by making him read to Mrs.Dubose until she was over her addiction. Atticus should have told Jem what ws wrong with Mrs. Dubose in the first place though, because then i think that Jem would have had a more willing heart, and wouldn't have gotten so angry at Mrs.Dubose. The Camilla I thought was just Mrs.Dubose's way of saying thank you, and i found it kind of humorous, but Jem took it as an insult like she was mocking him. I do not think that jem should have burned the box, but after Atticus talked to him i think Jem understood better, and it made Jem think about what he had done, and how he had treated her. Jem also realizes how kind and caring Atticus always was, and I think that when Jem was striking the flower at night it shows that he was thinking about these things.

Master Shake said...

In my opinion the whlole flower incident was way out of control. first of all, those flowers never did anyhting to jem. and second of all they probably smelled very pleasent. Wait, couldn't you relate the relative perfectness of the flowers with the erlative perfectness of a mockingbird? huh, huh, huh....

Han Solo said...

I think that the actions Jem committed towards Mrs. Dubose was very extreme, but justifiable. I think anytime you are standing up for what you believe in you are in the right. Even though she was insulting his family he should have talked to her about it instead of resorting to destroying her property. I also believe that backing down is one of the worst things a person can do in the face of that kind of adversity, because things just get worse if you let them, you have to react in a proactive manner. Of course he was angry, I'd be too, but the right reaction can solve a problem, and at the same time you can be assertive.

The way Jem reacts to the camellia in the candy box is that of fright, I think. I think Jem was genuinely scared by this crazy, gun toting old bird of a lady. He felt he was finally done with that wretched lady and her trials, but she and all the bad memories associated with her came back at that moment, causing him to act angry and frustrated towards that very flower.

Han Solo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The E of SHE said...

I think Jem may have lost his temper and over reacted just a little. He got caught up in the moment and did the only thing he could think of to do. Atticus has been trying to teach Scout that it is wrong to fight with your hands or actions and to fight with words. Atticus didn't think that Jem would do that, and was probably disappointed in Jem's actions. However, I do not agree with what Mrs. Dubose. She should have never said that no matter what the circumstances. Jem, I imagine had a hard time forgiving Mrs. Dubose and, therefore, was unhappy with his punishment.

floridaprincess said...

I also understand how he might feel. That does not make it right for him to do this, but he is still only twelve. Most twelve-year-olds don't have to deal with this kind of pressure. I think he feels guilty after she is dead, when he understands her fits, and that is why he throws the box into the fire. He doesn't want to admit to himself that he treated her wrong, but he realizes he did, and now she is dead, and it's too late to do anythign about it.

homestar_runner said...

I think that Jem overeacted when he tore up Mrs. Dubose's yard. However, I know exactly how he feels. When someone says something against my family it usually offends me. Jem did not have the right to do what he did though. The appropriate action would be to ignore her and be the better person in that situation even though it would be really hard after what she said about Atticus. Also, I think Jem had finally had enough. He had heard people say things about his father a lot, and he just finally lost it. I know I would be really mad if people continually said something about my family, i would get pretty mad. I would have to agree with most of you though and say that Jem did not react in the appropriate way.

Pop!Goes my heart..for Edward said...

I think that Ms. Dubose was sending Jem the flower as an apology, as a token of appreciation for serving his punishment diligently. Perhaps Jem didn't feel as if he deserved this reward. Perhaps he felt that he could have done something differently in order to make Ms. Dubose's life just a little more pleasant. From this, this camellia flower would remind him of that expirience. I can also understand why Atticus didn't tell Jem about Ms. Dubose's "condition"; Jem had to expirience the lesson of learning to ignore/ accept things without know the whole situation. (Jem and Scout are "mini adults".)

Ichigo said...

I think that what Jem did was completely appropriate, especially for a kid his age. Some people would have hurt Mrs. Dubose or done somehting worse but i seriously doubt any of us could have resosted doing something. Back then if someone said you were, "no better than the niggers and trash he works for", that was like spitting on your mothers grave and then slaping her dead body. It was a horrible insult and because it doesnt really mean anything to us now because we have moved beyond racism.

Princess Ariel said...

Just because other kids that are Jem's age would have done more, doesn't justify Jem's actions. I think they were inappropriate, for any age. However, it was inappropriate of Mrs. Dubose to say that. By the way Atticus treats Mrs. Dubose, and urges the kids to treat her, it really shows a lot about his integrity and character.

Emily Osment said...

I agree with the many people who said Jem acted inapropriate and out of context. It can be hard sometimes to ignore things that people say about you or about someone that is very close to you. It would have been more worth his while to just ignore the whole situation and let it go, even though it would be kind of difficult. I mean WOW!Why don't you just kill the flowers Jem!

The World's Greatest said...

I agree with all, Jem went a little over the top. But, I guess i can understand where he is coming from considering the entire situation.