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Overview of The Role of Boo Radley as Described by Harper Lee in His Book, to Kill a Mockingbird

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Overview of The Role of Boo Radley as Described by Harper Lee in His Book, to Kill a Mockingbird essay

Ms. Lee has gone a long way to create this novel of carefully sustained mystery that she calls “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Harper Lee Describes her tranquil southern town that surprises you with a climax so astonishing, it can be described as an erupt lava of emotions. In this melodramatic novel, the most unforgettable character, in my opinion, was Arthur Radley(A.K.A. Boo). Boo can be characterized as reclusive, misinterpreted, and in some ways parental. In the remainder of this essay, I will explain to prove why this traits are true.

First of all, Boo Radley lives in seclusion. Arthur’s Father was a Foot-washing baptist and according to Miss. Maudie “Foot-washers believe anything that’s pleasure is a sin.”(pg.44). This could have pressurized Boo into staying inside. Jem seems to understand why Boo lives in seclusion when he tells Scout “I think I beginning to understand why Boo Radley stayed shut up in his house all this time… it’s because he wants to stay inside.”(pg.227). When Scout meets Arthur for the first time, she sees that this was a man that never goes out, because she notices “he had sickly white hands that had never seen the sun…”(pg.270). Boo’s timidness also show sings of seclusiveness. For example, when Arthur asks Scout ” ‘Will you take me home?’ He almost whispered it, in the voice of a child afraid of the dark”(pg. 278).

As well as being secluded, he is also misinterpreted. False rumors have spread through Maycomb affecting everyone’s opinion about Boo Radley. For example, when Jem first met Dill “Jem gave a reasonable description of Boo: Boo was 6 1/2 feet tall… dined on all the raw squirrels and cats he could catch… you could never wash the blood off… there was a large scar that ran across his face… his eyes popped and he drooled most of the time.”(pg.13). Of course this wasn’t true, and the children were quite frightened by him. On one occasion, Miss Maudie tells Scout “Miss. Stephanie told me that once she woke up in the middle of the night and found him looking in the window at her… I said what did you do, move over and make room for him.”(pg.45) Another example of misunderstanding would be when Scout, as narrator, says “Inside that house lives a malevolent phantom… people say he went out at night… and peeped into windows… Stealthy small crimes committed in Maycomb were his work.. Radley pecans would kill you… a baseball hit into the Radley yard was a lost ball, and no questions asked”(pg 8-9)

Besides being reclusive, and misinterpreted, he is also parental. A very symbolic moment in the story that greatly represents parentacy was when Boo puts the blanket on Scout. Atticus told Scout and Jem that it was “Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn’t know it when he put the blanket around you.”(pg.72). Boo also shows the courage and the kindness a true parent would give when he saved the children from the evil clutches of Bob Ewell. Heck Tate informs Atticus that “Bob Ewell is lyin’ on the ground… with a kitchen knife stuck up under his ribs”(pg.266). The proof that Arthur Radley did this is simply because it foreshadows the event where “Boo drove scissors into his parent’s leg…”(pg.11). Scout concludes Boo’s kindness and care by saying “He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good luck pennies, and our lives… we had never given him nothing, it made me sad(pg.278)…It was summer time and his[Boo’s] children played in the front yard of their friend… Summer, and he watched his children’s heartbreak. Autumn again, and Boo’s children needed him.”(pg.279)

To sum up, Boo ends up being an important symbol of courage and kindness. For stressful reasons, Boo is reclusive. He is largely a victim of prejudice, and is misinterpreted unjustly. He demonstrates true parental traits, in which he shows with his faundness of the children. Even though considered the town freak, he became one of the most influential figures for Scout and Jem. This victimized hero, and fatherly figure, can definitely be represented as a mockingbird in this compassionate, soaring novel by Harper Lee, “To Kill A Mockingbird”.

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Overview of the Role of Boo Radley as Described by Harper Lee in His Book, to Kill a Mockingbird. (2019, February 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from
“Overview of the Role of Boo Radley as Described by Harper Lee in His Book, to Kill a Mockingbird.” GradesFixer, 12 Feb. 2019,
Overview of the Role of Boo Radley as Described by Harper Lee in His Book, to Kill a Mockingbird. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 Dec. 2022].
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