The Many Sides of Boo Radley Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 21 December 2016

The Many Sides of Boo Radley

Personality, or popularity of a person can make or break them. Those whom we know to be silly or a favorite among people are quite hard to forget. We also have those who never say much and let their work or actions speak for them. However, the people we never seem to notice are the ones who truly amaze us the most; such as the veiled character of Boo Radley in the book (To Kill A Mocking Bird). He was always mentioned in the book and never seen, yet, he intimidated and frightened the people of the town. It was only because of the gossip that surrounded him that the people were truly afraid of him.

They were also afraid of him because he never came out of his house which only made the people make up more rumors about him. Nobody really knew the truth about Boo nor the other Radley’s. Boo and his family never followed the customs or daily routines that the rest of the people of Maycomb did and were use to everybody doing, and that also set them apart from everyone else and made them the target for rumors and ridicule. Even though they thought he was a bad mysterious person, deep down he was just a shy and helpful person who evolved the people’s mentality of him when he became a hero.

Since Boo Radley was never seen, it was very easy for people to circulate untrue things about him. They were saying ridiculous things such as; he was an evil person and that his place was claimed to be inhabited by an unknown entity, he was also said to be a phantom with the mere description of whom was enough to make children behave for days on end. His house was darkened to the color of the slate-gray yard around it, it also had rain-rotted shingles and the oak trees kept the sun away. The pecans that fell from his tree into the school yard lay untouched because they were said to kill a person.

They said that he existed but no one ever saw him, referring to him as a malevolent phantom saying that he only came out at night and when people’s flowers froze it was because he breathed on them and that any small crimes committed in Maycomb were his doing. He never tried to go outside of his safe haven to meet or speak to people. The only thing he did that struck my attention was putting the little trinkets inside the hole of a tree trunk for Jem and Scout to find such as soap dolls and a broken watch. Which in my opinion was his form of communication but I never understood what they stood for.

Boo Radley was not always shy and isolated. He use to walk the streets of Maycomb county until one day he got caught up with the wrong crowd and they were arrested. His father kept him off the streets after that, then one day his father was struck ill and died and since then Boo never stepped foot outside his house. At least not while anyone was watching. As I re-read this novel I thought for a moment and realized that Boo was not really shy, he was just scared. , scared of the people, and scared of how they would react toward him if he decided to come out of his house.

He had hidden in his house for so many years, that he just decided to stay inside where he knew he was safe from the harm, the rumors, the ridicule, the looks, and possibly the physical, mental, and emotional abuse. Even though this novel was set in a time when African-Americans were the targets for ridicule, people were still ridiculing their own kind. After reading all these despicable things that were said about Boo and after he was actually introduced to the story I found his character to be very relating and understandable.

If anybody was ever talked about by anyone, there would be a point when they would shy away from the world so that rumors and ridicule could not hurt anyone’s feelings and pride making them scared to face those people again. Boo’s character exemplified all of these things which made his decision of not coming out of his house very understandable. These are only a few things that described boo’s character, and as I read on, his character took a turning point. During the story Boo stayed to himself, he didn’t try to involve himself in any activities such as the pageant that was held at the school.

Even though he didn’t go to them I believe he kept an eye on the things that went on afterward. Jem and Scout were walking home after the school pageant and it was pitch dark so they couldn’t not see anything. All of a sudden they heard footsteps behind them and they didn’t know who it was. So they started to run, and so did the person that were following them. The children were freighted because they didn’t know who it was, and also because it was dark and they couldn’t see anything. All of a sudden this person started attacking them and they started to fight back.

Jem was knocked down and Scout was getting the life squeezed out of her when Boo showed up and attacked this mysterious figure. Boo made the mysterious person fall on his knife and kill himself. This mysterious figure turned out to be Bob Ewell, he wanted to teach Atticus Finch a lesson by killing his kids and only because he was defending a black man in court. This was the part of the story when I found out that Boo Radley was really a sweet helpful person. After the scuffle happened with Bob Ewell and the kids, Boo had to carry Jem home because when he was knocked down he hit his head and blacked out.

Scout came running afterward. This was when I saw the helpful and brave side of Arthur “Boo” Radley. As I read it made me understand the sayings “never judge a book by its cover” and “you can never understand what a person is like or what they have been through until you have walked in their shoes”, and it also showed that you can never trust people say about one another unless you see it for yourself. After they took Jem inside Boo resumed to his shy ways. Boo stood in the corner of Jem’s room during most of the time he was there.

When he did move he went beside Jem he wanted to pet him but was scared but Scout reassured him that it was ok to pet him because he was asleep. When I read this it showed me and proved to others that Boo Radley was not the person people claimed him to be. It also showed that human kind can show their stupidity in many different ways. When he was ready to leave, whispered to Scout “will you walk me home”, and that was the first and last time I heard Boo Radley talk. After that Scout never saw him again.

Even though this incident made Boo Radley come out of his house, it was not the first time he helped out Jem. There was another time when Jem snuck into Boo’s house and when he tried to crawl under the fence to escape his jeans got caught so he had to take them off and leave them. Boo got the jeans off the fence and sewed them up for him and laid them out on the fence where Jem would be able to get them. So Boo was still helping even though he never came out the house. Even though he never came out of his house he found different yet profound ways to be apart of his community without them knowing it was him.

Weather it was to clean a street or save a life. He was like a whisper in the wind, the mysterious person that counted on thru thick and thin, he wasn’t seen but his little actions were heard loud and clear. He was visible through spirit. He silently watched over his town like it was his child, and when it needed help he silently came to the rescue. He affected the county of Maycomb very deeply without them even knowing. Weather it was through their negative thinking or his positive act and attitude toward them.

See how one moment your invisible to the world, no one really caring what or who you are, or what happened to you, and the next minute every one sees the real you. You don’t always have to be the class clown or the most well off individual to be notice. Boo Radley showcased this theory throughout most of his life especially when it came to saving those children from the person that was after them. Even though he was scared to leave his house in that moment it didn’t matter to him. The only thing that mattered was that there were children in danger and he had to help.

From then on Boo was a hero, not just to those children but everyone. Sometimes not being notice is the best way to be notice. This book was compassionate, dramatic and deeply moving taking me and many other readers to the roots of human behavior-to innocence and experience, kindness’ and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. And in my opinion is a masterpiece of American literature. It was the best one that I have ever read because it not only clarified certain things for me but it also connected things from real life situations and to me will always be the best novel in American History.

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 21 December 2016

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