Jem and Scout Character Profiles

Character Profiles
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch
• Scout Finch is the narrator and protagonist of To
Kill a Mockingbird. The novel is told from the point
of view of an adult Scout describing how she
viewed things as a child, and she often
comments about how she didn’t understand
things at the time, but now, having grown up, she
• Scout is considered smart for her age, and loves
to read. In fact she gets in trouble with her
teacher Miss Caroline Fisher, because she wants
Scout to learn reading and writing her way but
Scout refuses.
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch
• She is also a tomboy who spends the majority of her
time with her brother and best friend.
• She matures from age six to age eight as the novel
progresses but still remains naïve and idealistic,
despite an increased understanding of human
nature and racism in her town.
• At the beginning of the book, Scout is confused by
some of the words and names she has heard people
directing towards her father, such as “nigger lover”.
Being only six, Scout does not know how to handle
such situations so she tries to resolve her problems by
fighting and talking to Atticus about what she has
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch
• By the end of the book, she has
realised that racism does exist and has
come to terms with its presence in her
town. Scout also learns to deal with
others, such as Calpurnia and her aunt.
• Scout is the only one of the novel’s
three main children to see and talk to
Boo Radley during the course of the
novel and realizes that he is harmless,
despite her earlier fear of him.
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch
• She also stops a mob that is trying to
hang Tom Robinson by informing the
mob leader, Mr Cunningham, about
inviting his son over for dinner.
• Mr Cunningham then tells the other
mob members to get in their cars
and leave them alone. The members
listen and Scout unintentionally saves
Tom Robinson’s life.
What does Scout do in the novel?
1. Scout starts school for the first time (Chapter 2)
2. Scout discovers gifts hidden in a tree near the Radley house
(Chapter 4)
3. Scout finds her father outside the Maycomb jail and helps
bring to an end a dangerous situation (Chapter 15)
4. Scout is present at the trial of Tom Robinson (Chapters 17-21)
5. Scout attends a Maycomb Missionary Society meeting
(Chapter 24)
6. Scout performs in the Halloween pageant and is attacked on
her way home (Chapters 28-29)
How is Scout described and what
does it mean?
“She discovered that I was literate and looked
at me with more than faint distaste”
Scout’s teacher does not approve of Scout’s advanced
reading skills, but Scout, a bright, unconventional child, has
grown up in a household full of newspapers and books.
“You’re also growing out of your pants a little”
Uncle Jack is referring to both Scout’s cheeky nature and her
tomboy nature. She rarely wears dresses, which she learns will
get in the way of her becoming a “lady”.
“When you…. are grown, maybe you’ll look back on
this with some compassion and feeling that I didn’t let
you down”
Through the two perspectives of the child and adult Scout, we
see that the narrator supports, and even idealises Atticus,
despite his limitations.
“There wasn’t much else for us to learn, except
possibly algebra”
Scout’s words are an indication of her precociousness and
also of how much she’s been through. Her character has
been strengthened rather than altered by her recent
Scout: In Depth
• Scout isn’t a typical young girl. She is a tomboy and spends most of her
time playing with boys. She hates wearing dresses and she isn’t afraid
to get into fights.
• She doesn’t just accept things – she is inquisitive and questions how
people behave. For example, she doesn’t understand why Aunt
Alexandra tells her not to say certain things in front of Calpurnia.
• Scout has a bit of a temper – she punches Francis for calling Atticus a
“nigger-lover”, but her flaws make her a well-rounded, believable
Scout: In Depth
Scout’s character develops as she gets older over the course of the novel:
• In the opening chapters, Scout torments and gossips about Boo, in the
final chapter, Scout learns to see things from Boo’s point of view.
• In chapter 3, Scout thinks it is ok to be rude to Walter because “he’s just a
Cunningham”, at the end of the novel, Scout respects Walter’s family
because one of them thought Tom Robinson was innocent.
• Scout uses words like “nigger” without thought – she doesn’t think its
offensive to use those kinds of words. The older Scout uses the more
respectful word “Negro” instead.
Scout: In Depth
• She’s childlike – she wants to play with her big brother and gets cross
when he doesn’t want to play with her. She addresses some adult
issues – she asks Atticus what rape is and she’s curious about how the
legal system works.
• Although Scout is still a child at the end of the book and keeps a lot of
her innocence, the events of the book have forced her to grow up
• She’s more perceptive and empathic at the end of the book because
of what she has learnt.
Jeremy “Jem” Finch
• Jeremy “Jem” Finch is the brother of Scout
and is four years her senior.
• Jem represents bravery in the book. He
matures a lot over the course of the novel
and is much more affected by its events –
his mother’s death, the racism in the town
and the death of Tom Robinson, than Scout
is due to his greater understanding of them.
• Jem is generally stubborn and is a rational
intelligent boy.
Jeremy “Jem” Finch
• On the occasion when Jem behaves out of
character by cutting off Mrs Dubose’s
camellias (Chapter 11), he learns his biggest
lesson about courage.
• As Jem is going through a period of physical
and mental change, his mood and
behaviour at times reflect this.
Jeremy “Jem” Finch
1. Jem is a natural leader. His creative and resourceful nature is brought
out in the games he plays with Scout and Dill.
2. Jem is idealistic and thoughtful, and in contrast to Scout, we see that
he takes it very much to heart when Tom Robinson is declared guilty as
he has a strong sense of justice.
3. Jem’s maturity is charted throughout the novel
4. Jem is a mirror of Atticus, even in his ambition to become a lawyer to
bring about change.
5. In Jem, Harper Lee seems to imply that what has not been achieved
by Atticus may later be achieved by Jem – reassuring us that there will
be people like Atticus in the future.
Jeremy “Jem” Finch
• All the children grow up over the
course of the novel but it is Jem who
develops the most.
• Scout starts to notice Jem’s new
maturity in Chapter 6. She says “It was
then, I suppose, that Jem and I first
began to part company”. Jem “broke
the remaining code of our childhood”
by telling Atticus about Dill running
away from home – he is trying to be
Jeremy “Jem” Finch
• He explains things to Scout like the court
case – he understands better than she
does. After the trial, Jem stops Scout from
killing an insect – Tom Robinson’s case has
taught him how important it is to protect
the weak.
• When Scout messed up the school
pageant, he is sympathetic. He looks after
her. He makes Scout “feel right when things
went wrong”.
Jeremy “Jem” Finch
Despite this, Jem can also be a bit of a rebel. He is more level-headed
than Scout, but he isn’t always respectful and won’t always do as he is
He sometimes lies to avoid getting into trouble – the trouser incident
He torments Boo, even though Atticus has told him to leave Boo
He destroys Mrs Dubose’s camellias
He refuses to go home and leave Atticus with the mob outside the jail
Jeremy “Jem” Finch
• Jem is sensitive – he worries about Atticus when he sits outside the jail.
This also shows how the roles are starting to reverse – Jem wants to
look after his father.
• He is clearly upset by the outcome of the trial – his hands go white
from gripping the balcony rail when he hears the jury say “guilty”, and
his shoulders jerk as if each verdict “was a separate stab between
• The verdict also makes him cry. He has a strong sense of justice. He
knows that what happens to Tom Robinson isn’t right.