Jem Finch is a very dynamic character, and portrays courage through bravery. From the start of the novel Jem's idea of valor, was simply touching the Radley house, and only then because, "In all his life, Jem had never declined a dare."(Lee 13). As Jem matures, and the story progresses, Jem's thoughts on what makes himself a courageous person change. Courage is a theme that shows precedence throughout To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee uses a multitude of examples and characters to make this theme evident. Jem is the character that best allows us to derive the true meaning of the theme courage. Jem has a drive deep within himself to help others, he is brave and does what no one else dares to do, and learns from the examples set by his father.
Jem's first acts of audacity was his interest in Boo Radley. A man described as a huge, evil beast of a man, who feasts on raw squirrels. When dared to touch the Radley house, Jem does so, "Jem threw open the gate and sped to the side of the house, slapped it with his palm and ran back past us" (Lee 15). Though this a petty act of bravery, it is bravery none the less. Not a child in Maycomb would touch the Radley house because of it's ominous mystery, but Jem faced his fear and did so. Jem once again confronts Boo Radley, this time more personally, "Jem was merely going to put the note on the end of a fishing pole and stick it through the shutters." (Lee 62). This is another act that shows Jem's courage to seek out Boo Radley despite his intimidating reputation. Jem is very intrigued in the phantom that is Boo Radley. These small tasks of bravery are what compose Jem's courage overall, but as the story progresses Jem matures, learns to take advice, and becomes a much more aware and courageous person.
Jem is taught new courage by both his father, Atticus, and the other characters that surround him in the town of Maycomb. Atticus teaches Jem how to be humble, yet gallant, at the same time.