Jem Finch
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Quotes for
Jem Finch (Character)
from To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

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To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Jem: Atticus says cheating a black man is ten times worse than cheating a white.

Jem: There goes the meanest man that ever took a breath of life.
Dill Harris: Why is he the meanest man?
Jem: Well, for one thing, he has a boy named Boo that he keeps chained to a bed in the house over yonder. Boo only comes out at night when you're asleep and it's pitch-dark. When you wake up at night, you can hear him. Once I heard him scratchin' on our screen door, but he was gone by the time Atticus got there.
Dill Harris: I wonder what he does in there? I wonder what he looks like?
Jem: Well, judgin' from his tracks, he's about six and a half feet tall. He eats raw squirrels and all the cats he can catch. There's a long, jagged scar that runs all the way across his face. His teeth are yella and rotten. His eyes are popped. And he drools most of the time.

Atticus Finch: I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house; and that he'd rather I'd shoot at tin cans in the backyard. But he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted - if I could hit 'em; but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.
Jem: Why?
Atticus Finch: Well, I reckon because mockingbirds don't do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat people's gardens, don't nest in the corncrib, they don't do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.

[Atticus on the porch overhearing their conversation]
Scout: How old was I when Mama died?
Jem: Two.
Scout: How old were you?
Jem: Six.
Scout: Old as I am now?
Jem: Uh-huh.
Scout: Was Mama pretty?
Jem: Uh-huh.
Scout: Was Mama nice?
Jem: Uh-huh.
Scout: Did you love her?
Jem: Yes.
Scout: Did I love her?
Jem: Yes.
Scout: Do you miss her?
Jem: Uh-huh.

[to Dill about Miss Dubose]
Jem: Listen, no matter what she says to you, don't answer her back. There's a Confederate pistol in her lap under her shawl and she'll kill you quick as look at you. Come on.

Dill Harris: Hey.
Jem: Hey yourself.
Dill Harris: I'm Charles Baker Harris. I can read. I can read anything you've got.
[swinging on the gate]
Dill Harris: Folks call me Dill.
Jem: How old are you? Four and a half?
Dill Harris: Going on seven.
Jem: Well, no wonder then. Scout's been readin' since she was born, and she's not even six yet. You're mighty puny for nearly seven.
Dill Harris: I'm little but I'm old.

Miss Maudie Atkinson: Jem.
Jem: Yes, ma'am?
Miss Maudie Atkinson: I don't know if it will help saying this to you... some men in this world are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us... your father is one of them.
Jem: Oh, well.