In a small town deep south in Alabama, two children reside in a house with their father Atticus. Maycomb was this town’s name, and within Maycomb lived the nastiest, most psychotic, recluse to have ever live, and it just so happens that this monster of a man is the neighbor of the two young children, at least this is how “Boo” Radley is perceived to be in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. “Jem” Jeremy Atticus Finch and “Scout” Jean Louise Finch, the two children, one four years younger than the other, the youngest being Scout, find themselves bound by curiosity to rip “Boo” Arthur Radley from his protective house.
This is when the relationship of Boo Radley and the Finch children begin, but the relationship between Boo and the children change through the course of the novel. At first, the children both believe that Boo is a terrible monster and a prisoner within his own home. They, along with the entire town of Maycomb, believe he is a psychotic anger-filled maniac. The town even came up with rumors about him saying he stabbed his own father with scissors. The obsession with “Boo” begins when a young boy named Dill moves in with his Aunt who lives by Jem and Scout. Dill meets Jem and Scout resulting in Dill’s curiosity of meeting Boo Radley.
That summer began the race to finally see Boo. At this time in the book the children describe Boo as a rodent-eating, drooling, ugly, tall, monster, hence the name “Boo”. They believed that everything about Boo and his house is haunted and would kill you. The children come up with different schemes to get Boo out of the house, but they all seem to fail. They continue to think of Boo this way until Boo starts to actually interact with the children. The transition of how Jem and Scout view Boo seems to happens quite rapidly, but actually takes a while for the children to realize Boo’s true personality.
As Boo begins to leave gifts in the hole of a tree near the Radley house for them the children, starting with Jem, begin to think differently. He leaves gum, pennies, an old pocket watch, and more things he has to the children. It is then figured out that Boo is the one who put a blanket around Scout during the fire that occurred at Miss Maudie’s house. Th night was cold and that caring act seemed to give Boo a different sense of who he is to the children. The children are beginning to realize that maybe Boo isn’t so bad.
During Tom Robinson’s trial, an African-American man who is convicted of rape, it is said by Jem,“Scout, I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time… it’s because he wants to stay inside. ” Seeing the prejudice and racism that Tom suffered in his case makes the kids understand why Boo may have wanted to decide to stay in his house all these years. The kids come to see Boo as a real person when he saves them from Bob Ewell, the man who attempts to kill the children in revenge, and not the monster he was first portrayed as.
Scout then treats him as she would any neighbor would. As Atticus said, “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them”. She now understands that Boo had been watching her and Jem the whole time, and that he was a true neighbor and was watching over them when they needed him. He was just a shy man who was very caring towards the children. Though she never sees Boo again after that night, Scout still thinks of him, as we can tell by her older self’s voice in this story. In this, the children’s maturity has definitely developed and it is evident in their relationship.
By the end of the novel, they meet Boo and he is almost childlike in his mind due to lack of human contact over the past years, this may makes him almost closer to the children as he has a similar mental capacity. When they meet and Boo is about to leave to go back home he asks Scout if she could walk him home. This just goes to show how innocent and childlike Boo is. That he wants someone to walk him home as if he was scared to do so alone. Boo Radley and the children’s relationship had evolved from the beginning of the book to the end very dramatically from Boo being a monster to now his being a neighbor and a friend.
Courtney from Study Moose
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