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Mature Jerk Lessons


Most novelists, though, don't create unlikable characters just to annoy us readers. Sometimes authors give us flawed characters because they are more than likely going to change in some way. (A character can't go from perfect to more perfect, right?) Much to our relief, the character will learn a lesson, mature a ton, or reform his or her attitude and actions. You can see this arc in other classic characters like the traitorous Edmund in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the greedy Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, or the spoiled-rotten Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. Even Harry Potter is an enormous pain in Book 5. All of these characters mature, grow up, or change for the better in their respective books.




mature jerk lessons



Like other characters who learn a major lesson, our boy Phillip undergoes a lot of significant changes in The Cay. (Thank goodness.) He may start off as a jerk, but he ends up as a pretty mature kid with a strong respect for other cultures. How does he get from zero to hero? Let's take a look.


While Phillip's blindness prompts personal growth, it's his friendship with Timothy that teaches him the values of acceptance, perseverance, and love. After Phillip accepts Timothy as his friend he picks up valuable lessons from the older man. Take Timothy's enlightened views on racial difference, for example:


After Timothy's death, Phillip finally comes into his own as a fully independent and mature person. At first he struggles to navigate the island by himself, but by the book's final chapters he is able to clean up the wreckage after the storm, fish for food, and even figure out how to make a black smoke signal. He respects the birds and learns not to disturb the moray eel. Like the small island itself, he has learned to be a self-sustaining entity. After experiencing the world on his own, Phillip develops his own point of view, separate from that of his parents or other outside influences.


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The tensions became very emotionally taxing, and took a toll on every member of the household. One day, our daughter announced that she had had enough, and was moving out. While the timing and practicality of her move-out did not seem a smart choice for a variety of reasons, it turned out to be positive for all involved. Since she moved out, we have experienced a peace and stability in our home that had been lacking for some time. We now have more time, energy, and resources for other things and we no longer wake up in the morning wondering when the first bit of drama will arise. The limited encounters we now have with our daughter are generally pleasant. She remains a self-absorbed, immature millennial who chooses to learn her life lessons the hard way on most things. So far, she has mostly only initiated contact with family members when she has wanted or needed something. She has little concept of showing respect or honour to her parents or grandparents, but hopefully this will come as she matures.


Slim is the jerkline skinner, or the head mule driver, on the ranch. He is a static character throughout the novel, not changing over the course of the events, and is always quiet, strong, and kind, offering helpful advice and mediation.


Throughout Of Mice and Men, Slim is a static character, meaning that he does not change over the course of the novel. He is a likable, wise, and strong person. He is the jerkline skinner, or head mule driver, on the ranch. Although he rarely is part of the action of the plot, he provides advice and support to the other main characters.


A subset of "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome and an opposition to Character Development. This becomes worse if the cast caused this change intentionally, because Pygmalion Snap Back means the Jerkass returns to his jerky nature and has an ax to grind.


  • Comic Books In one Archie Comics story, Reggie Mantle decides that being a Jerkass isn't winning him any dates, so he becomes much, much nicer. The guys hate it, partially because Reggie is getting all the girls now, but also because waiting for Reggie to slip into his old habits is like waiting for a bomb to go off. They conspire to give Reggie a chance to hit Moose with a water balloon (Moose is playing along because he also can't stand Nice!Reggie) however, at the critical moment when Reggie's self control slips, Mr. Weatherbee sends Moose off, and gets hit by the balloon. Reggie gets detention, swears vengeance on the guys, who consider it to be a worthy price to restore the status quo.

  • Two instances in DC Comics' run of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: "Dark Agent" (issue #2) has Ami and Yumi getting rid of Kaz after signing an iron-clad contract with an agent who is a personification of Satan. But when the spoils of ultra-fame become ennui to them, they want Kaz back. To win the girls back, Kaz must face Satan in a guitar duel.

  • "Kaz Superstar" (Cartoon Network Block Party #24) has Kaz going on the talent show "International Idol" and being so awful he's kicked out of the studio. But he starts getting offers upon his appearance and strikes out on his own, relegating the girls to has-beens. But Kaz gets bored with the good life and returns to the girls who welcome him back with open arms.

  • Guy Gardner is pretty much the biggest jerk in the world in Justice League International. Until he gets clocked by Batman and got a bit of head-trauma, which resulted in a Guy who said things like "Gee, I don't want to let the guys down!" The JLI loathed Guy enough to not really wish him back to the lecherous, arrogant jerk he was, but nice!Guy kinda creeped out/annoyed most of them. They had quite a bit of fun with this: every time Guy Gardner hit his head he would switch. Once he was under a desk, hit his head, switched back, then not 5 seconds later, after he says that he never wants to go through that again, he hits his head again.

  • Loki: Agent of Asgard: Loki's friends wish this after the god gets morality inverted in the AXIS event and becomes perfectly heroic. Helps that, while Loki was an irredeemable conman and annoying trickster, their new good personality is probably the smuggest Smug Super to ever smug.

  • The All-Mother wants the properly evil Loki back, because the new one is just too chaotic for the utopia they have in mind. Loki's wishes and sacrifices (and you know evil) be damned.

  • In one of Peyo's original Smurfs comics, everyone gets sick of Jokey's pranks, and Papa Smurf decides to teach him a lesson by putting some magic powder in one of his exploding boxes. When Jokey's next "victim", Grouchy, opens it, the smoke turns Grouchy, Hefty, and Vanity into ugly monsters. Jokey is naturally terrified and runs to Papa Smurf begging for help as they start to chase him, and Papa Smurf offers to undo the effect (which he can easily, as he engineered it) if Jokey promises never to pull his prank again. Jokey agrees (on paper) the whole thing is explained, and Jokey actually keeps his promise - until everyone get bored missing the way he usually was. Eventually Papa Smurf tears up the promise and everything is back to normal. Also in a 1980s cartoon episode where the Know-Nothing Know-It-All Brainy loses his essence and the other Smurfs have to bring back the annoying person that he really is.

  • In Twisted Toyfare Theatre, Iron Man was Nailed to the Wagon and became a sober jerk who decided to bring about the Prohibition and teamed up with villains just to make sure superheroes stop drinking. Hawkeye used some booze arrows to get Tony to start drinking again.



  • Fan Works In Dignity Draco becomes depressed and suicidal when his father disowns him after he's forcibly outed and Harry gives him a pep talk, stating that he preferred the "real you".

  • Shikamaru in Eroninja used to hate how "troublesome" his mother was but ends up longing for the days his mother was a "troublesome woman" after months of depression due to her husband dying during Pain's attack. He ends up asking Naruto to get her involved in his group, but very much does not want to know what it entails even though he's already awarenote Hardly surprising consider few people want to hear about their parent's sex life.

  • Defied but basically quoted in The Blacksmith's Apprentice; when Snotlout is dismissed as the heir to Berk after he tries to rape Astrid, Mildew rallies a group of villagers to protest Hiccup being appointed heir once again, but Mildew loses their support when he explicitly says "We want Snotlout back!" as the villagers realize they genuinely don't want him back as heir.

  • In The Heroic Adventures of Zeus, Mount Olympus is profoundly disturbed by this jovial, kindly, wisecracking, and faithful Zeus who can't read the room. They all attribute the new Zeus to a fit of madness caused by the loss of his Master Bolt and just wish for it to be over. Hera in particular believes that Zeus is plotting something disturbing against her when he makes her breakfast, brings her flowers, and takes her out for a nice dinner.

  • The Nice Kaachan AU is a My Hero Academia story in which angry-to-the-point-of-psychopathic Jerk with a Heart of Gold Katsuki Bakugou is hit by a villain's Mirror Morality Machine-slash-amnesia ray Quirk and becomes an incredibly nice fellow with no knowledge of his time terrorizing the rest of his UA class. The comic then explores this Trope, from people who don't want the jerk to come back (Kirishima), to those who want the jerk, hopefully with a vengeance and a bone to pick with the rest of the class (Mineta), to those who know that the jerk will come back and are so terrified of giving him reasons to make him want their blood that they don't want anything to do with the "nice" Katsuki (almost everybody else in class, but especially Izuku). Sure enough, the Quirk's effects eventually wear off and Bakugou goes so berserk from the perceived slight of being treated as a friend by the rest of the class that he actually has to be threatened with expulsion so he'll calm down, and the people he thanks for the good time (such as Izuku) he still gives a Suspiciously Specific Denial and threatens to hurt if they try to exploit his goodwill in any way.

  • Miraculous! Rewrite plays with this in "Ex-Friend". Nearly three seasons of Character Development have made Chloe a much better person; however, she's also grown distant from Sabrina in the process. Despite being well aware how toxic their relationship was, Sabrina still wants the 'old Chloe' back so that they can spend time together again. Nobody else agrees with her.

  • Played With in Drabbles 14 and 15 of Miraculous Showdown, where Omi, paranoid that Jack Spicer's friendship with his new Parisian friends is part of an evil scheme, uses the Ying Yo-Yo to send Jack to the Ying Yang world, knowing Jack will leave his evil Chi behind. While Marinette, Adrien, and the other know Jack can be good, they rather Jack do it from his own free will rather than be brainwashed to do so, so much that they use both the Ying and Yang yo-yos to get to the other world and get Jack's evil Chi back. When he gets back to normal, Jack is surprised and touched that his friends did so out because they were worried about him rather than being annoyed from his nice self like the Xiaolin Dragons were the last time it happened.

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