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To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem) Timeline and Summary
The summer Jem is nine, he meets Dill. Jem tells Dill scary stories about Boo Radley Dill dares Jem to go up to the Radley Place; Jem is scared, but he can’t turn down a dare. Jem walks Scout to school on her first day. At recess, Jem tries to explain to Scout about the school’s new system of education. Jem steps in when Scout is fighting with Walter Cunningham and invites the boy home for lunch. On the last day of school, Scout and Jem find a box containing two Indian-head pennies in the same tree. Dill arrives for the summer, and Jem tells him stories about Hot Steams, even though Scout says he’s just making them up. In revenge Jem gives Scout an extra push when she’s riding inside an old tire, and she lands right in the Radleys’ front yard. A dazed Scout runs out of there as fast as she can, leaving Jem to retrieve the tire. Jem ropes an enthusiastic Dill and a reluctant Scout into a new game: acting out scenes from Boo Radley’s life. Jem keeps concocting plans for getting Boo to come out: first he tries to give him a note, then he tries to sneak up to the house at night, but he still doesn’t see Boo. After the botched midnight raid on the Radley Place with Scout and Dill, Jem returns alone to retrieve his pants, which were caught on a fence. He finds his pants neatly folded on the fence, with the tear mended. Scout and Jem keep finding treasures in the tree, until Nathan Radley fills the hole with cement, which upsets Jem. Scout and Jem have a rare snow day off from school and build a snow man. The night Miss Maudie’s house burns, Jem stands with Scout in front of the Radley Place, but he doesn’t see Boo bring out the blanket for Scout either. At Christmas, Scout and Jem look forward to seeing Uncle Jack but dread spending time at Aunt Alexandra’s. Scout and Jem feel bad that their father can’t do anything interesting or impressive. Scout and Jem see a mad dog coming down the street, and watch as Atticus shoots it. Jem tells Scout not to brag to everyone that their father is a good shot, but takes a private pleasure in the fact. Jem buys Scout a baton, but he breaks it destroying Mrs. Dubose’s camellias after the old woman insults Atticus. Atticus makes Jem apologize, and his punishment is to read to Mrs. Dubose every day after school. After her death, Mrs. Dubose’s servant sends Jem a box the old woman wanted him to have. It contains a single camellia, and makes Jem feel like she’s stalking him from beyond the grave, but Atticus tells him it’s a signal that everything’s all right between them. Jem’s becoming a moody middle-schooler. With Atticus away on a Sunday, Calpurnia takes Scout and Jem to her own, African-American, church. Seeing Calpurnia at her own church prompts Scout and Jem to ask her questions about herself. Scout and Jem arrive home to find Aunt Alexandra on the front porch. When Scout finds Dill hiding under her bed, Jem tells Atticus. Scout and Jem watch as Atticus talks with a group of men who arrive on their doorstep one night, concerned about the Tom Robinson case. The next night, Jem goes out, and Scout joins him. Picking up Dill along the way, they go to the town square looking for Atticus. The trio sees him sitting in front of the jail reading, and are about to leave when some men drive up. While Atticus is talking to the men, Scout runs up to join them, and Jem follows with Dill. Atticus tells Jem to take the other two and go home, but Jem refuses. One of the men grabs Jem, and Scout kicks him. Once Scout defuses the situation, Jem walks home with Atticus, who ruffles his hair. The next morning, Scout, Jem, and Dill watch the crowds on the way to the courthouse for Tom’s trial. They go to the courthouse themselves, but the only seats they can get are in the balcony where the African-Americans sit. Jem makes periodical whispered comments about how well the case is going for Atticus, and how it’s a sure thing that Tom will be acquitted. After Atticus finishes his closing remarks, he finds out the kids are there, and sends them home for dinner. After dinner Scout, Jem, and Dill return, to find the jury still out. Jem is still confident that Atticus will win his case. When the guilty verdict comes back, Jem is heartbroken. The next day, Scout, Jem, and Dill try to avoid their adult neighbors, but join Miss Maudie for cake. After Bob Ewell spits in Atticus’s face and threatens him, Scout and Jem are scared he will make good on his threats. After all the adults bail out of attending Scout’s Halloween pageant, Jem walks Scout through the darkness to the school. On the way, Cecil Jacobs jumps out at Scout and Jem and scares them. After Scout misses her cue and feels stupid, Jem waits with her until everyone else leaves to go home. On their way home, Scout and Jem are attacked by someone, and Jem is knocked out. A stranger picks up the unconscious Jem and carries him home while Scout follows. Jem stays unconscious while his sister hangs out with Boo Radley, and doesn’t wake up before the book ends.