In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee, the character Arthur (Boo) Radley stems from mysterious origins that give rise to rumors and gossip spreading around his hometown, Maycomb, Alabama. Boo Radley is rumored to have killed his parents, and has not been seen outside of his house in many years other than by a neighbor, Miss Stephanie Crawford who loves to start drama, claiming to have seen him peeping into her windows one night. Due to this, Boo has been shaped into a very quiet man who, because of his isolation, feels uncomfortable in social settings. Boo Radley does not have close relationships with his neighbors unlike the rest of the people in his town who seem to know everything about everyone. The life of Boo Radley contributes to the meaning of the novel as a whole because the main character, Scout, finally meets Mr. Radley and gets to talk with him and realizes he is not someone to be feared contrary to what she has grown up believing.
Boo Radley has lived in solitude for years and is rumored to have not left his house in many years, because of this, he is a very quiet and reserved man who feels uncomfortable in social settings. When Scout and her brother, Jem, were attacked on their way home from the school, Boo Radley is the one who saved their lives. Because of this, he entered Scout’s house for the first time to bring the kids inside while the sheriff and Atticus, Scout’s dad, were talking about what happened. When they were talking, Boo stayed in the corner of the room, and didn’t speak, but when the sheriff asked Scout who saved her, she pointed at Boo; “When I pointed to him his palms slipped slightly, leaving greasy sweat streaks on the wall, and he hooked his thumbs in his belt.
A strange small spasm shook him, as if he heard fingernails scrape a slate” (page 362). Boo Radley feels incredibly uncomfortable in this situation because he isn’t used to being outside of the comfort of his home, so when Scout pointed him out as a hero, he didn’t know what to do. Later in the chapter, the sheriff, Scout, Atticus, and Boo Radley sat on the porch to continue the discussion of the night’s events. Scout had “been so accustomed to his absence” that she “found it incredible that he had been sitting beside [her] all this time, present.” Sitting there the whole time, “he had not made a sound” (371). Boo Radley has been isolated for as long as Scout could remember, so when he sat next to her in silence, the quiet felt normal. Due to the fact that he has lived in solitude for so long, he has become a very quiet man who doesn’t know what to do in social situations.
Most people that live in Maycomb know everything about everyone and are friends with most of their neighbors due to the small town where everything is interrelated, but Boo Radley is different. Boo only really knows what he can see out of the windows, so when he sees Scout and Jem pass by his house everyday, he begins to try to develop a relationship with them. In order to establish a relationship with Jem and Scout, Boo began to place trinkets inside of a hole in an oak tree in his front yard when nobody was outside. Scout was the first one to find them, so Jem didn’t believe her at first. When Jem was walking by he finally saw something inside the tree; “Jem looked around, reached up, and gingerly pocketed a tiny shiny package. We ran home, and on the front porch we looked at a small box patchworked with bits of tinfoil collected from chewing-gum wrappers. It was the kind of box wedding rings came in, purple velvet with a minute catch. Jem flocked open the tiny catch. Inside we’re two scrubbed and polished pennies, one on top of the other,” (page 46).
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