How The Character of Boo Radley Changed Throughout to Kill a Mockingbird

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About this sample


Words: 708 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Words: 708|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee is a timeless classic that has been appreciated by many across generations. Published in 1960, it tells the story of a young girl named Scout Finch who grows up in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression. One of the most compelling and complex characters in the novel is Arthur "Boo" Radley, who lives next door to the Finch family. Throughout the course of the book, Boo Radley changes in significant ways, which offer valuable insights into the novel's themes. This essay is an exploration of how Boo Radley changes in these ways and why.
At the beginning of the novel, Boo Radley is mysterious, reclusive, and seen as a dangerous outsider figure. The townspeople of Maycomb gossip about Boo and create rumors about his life. They label him as crazy and say that he stabbed his father with the scissors he uses to cut up his food. However, as the story progresses, Scout and her brother Jem come across several objects hidden in the knothole of a tree outside the Radley's house. The children realize that it's Boo Radley who is leaving these gifts for them, including a watch, pennies, and soap figures. This hints that Boo is not as crazy or dangerous as the town thinks he is and that he is, in fact, reaching out to Scout and Jem in a subtle way.
Throughout the middle of the book, Boo Radley becomes a significant presence in Scout and Jem's lives - both physically and through their imaginations. Scout and Jem become increasingly obsessed with understanding who Boo Radley is. Scout wants to meet Boo and see him with her own eyes. Jem, on the other hand, wants to reach out to him and thank him for the gifts. Gradually, Scout and Jem start to identify with Boo and to see him as a real person. They begin to take care of him, leaving a blanket for him on a chilly night.
In the final act of the novel, Boo Radley undergoes an extraordinary change. He saves the lives of Scout and Jem from a knife-wielding Bob Ewell, who tries to attack them. Boo kills Bob Ewell, the antagonist of the novel, and carries an injured Jem home. This act of heroism provides a shock to the reader's system as it subverts the town's perception of Boo Radley. It confirms that he is a valiant person who is willing to put his own life on the line to protect others. Moreover, the scene is a poignant reminder of Boo's humanity and how courage can come from unexpected places.
The character arc of Boo Radley in "To Kill a Mockingbird" is significant for several reasons. Firstly, it evidences that the theme of courage is not limited to attaining physical feats or making stand-alone speeches. Rather, it manifests in unexpected ways and forms in ordinary people. Boo Radley's bravery, humility, and altruism are more powerful than any speech or grand gesture could be. Secondly, it reinforces the idea that a change can happen to even an inherently mysterious character like Boo Radley. As the book progresses, Scout and Jem increasingly identify with Boo Radley, and this newfound empathy changes their behavior and ways of seeing Boo. Lastly, the transformation of Boo Radley represents how people can be misunderstood by baseless rumors and prejudices.
The transformation of the character of Boo Radley in "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a significant part of the novel and offers a unique insight into its themes. As the book progresses, Boo Radley becomes less of an enigma and more of a human person. Through his interactions with Scout and Jem, Boo shows compassion, selflessness, and bravery in ways that are unexpected but that reinforce the critical themes of the novel. By the end of the novel, we realize that Boo Radley is a compassionate character who is ultimately willing to put his own life on the line for others - a far cry from the town's initial perceptions of him. The character of Boo Radley is a testament to the transformative power of heroic and humane actions and how these deeds can change the lives of those around them. Works Cited:
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. HarperCollins, 2014.

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How the Character of Boo Radley Changed throughout To Kill a Mockingbird. (2024, March 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“How the Character of Boo Radley Changed throughout To Kill a Mockingbird.” GradesFixer, 06 Mar. 2024,
How the Character of Boo Radley Changed throughout To Kill a Mockingbird. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
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