To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 25

Think of the incident with Jem, Scout, and the roly-poly bug? How are gender roles challenged by Harper Lee in chapter 25?

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Scout sees a roly-poly bug and goes to kill it. Jem stops her, saying the bug never did anything to harm her. Scout heeds his request and carefully takes the bug outside, noting internally that if anything, Jem is becoming more like a lady than she is. Note, I don't personally believe that this is a gender issue.

The roly-poly incident is yet another example of Jem's increasing maturity. Having witnessed Tom's trial and his family's reaction of his death, Jem has an even greater sense of the need to protect the innocent. Therefore, the roly-poly bug is a symbol of the weak and oppressed who are often "stomped on" by society. Jem believes in the equality of all people, and his choice to protect the roly-poly demonstrates how deeply ingrained this value is. Jem is becoming a young man of honor and moral virtue, just like his father.