To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem) Quotes
Jem said quietly, "My sister ain't dirty and I ain't scared of you," although I noticed his knees shaking. (11.78)
Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can make you go medieval on a camellia bush and get detention for a month. Despite being a frail old lady in a wheelchair, Mrs. Dubose's tongue-lashings are enough to make even Jem shake in his boots.
"Scout, I'm tellin' you for the last time, shut your trap or go home—I declare to the Lord you're gettin' more like a girl every day!" With that, I had no option but to join them. (6.24)
Boys rule, girls drool, and Scout will do anything to keep from being called a girl. But what's the problem here? That she's raising some pretty logical objections to Jem's reckless behavior?
"Aunty," Jem spoke up, "Atticus says you can choose your friends but you sho' can't choose your family, an' they're still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge 'em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don't."
"That's your father all over again," said Aunt Alexandra, "and I still say that Jean Louise will not invite Walter Cunningham to this house. If he were her double first cousin once removed he would still not be received in this house unless he comes to see Atticus on business. Now that is that." (23.84-85)
Atticus's and Aunt Alexandra's opinions might appear to have switched up a little—Atticus, as Jem quotes him, says that family is something you can't help, while Aunt Alexandra comes down on the side of choice. But in another sense their views haven't changed. Atticus is still concerned with keeping people in the family, while Aunt Alexandra wants to kick out the unworthy.