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The Development of Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird

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Throughout the book To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, the reader experiences first-hand how a variety of characters branch out their emotions and intellect. The audience gets to see different characters grow, develop, and change due the influence of others. Arthur (Boo) Radley is one of these characters, he has morally grown and established a strong connection with Jem and Scout. Arthur Radley has become understood, brave, and kind through his journey in the novel.

Boo Radley has grown over the book and transformed from someone who was feared and gawked at in early chapters by Jem and Scout, to someone who was understood by them. “Scout, I think I’m beginning to understand something. 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” (Lee, 227). This quotation is said by Jem after the court scene, a scene that displayed the true nature of Maycomb, thus teaching Jem a new perspective and opinion on his community. Once, Jem, Scout, and Dill were interested in seeing the great and terrible Boo Radley because of his odd behaviors and often wondered why he stayed inside, but as the book progressed the main characters learned his reasoning for his lifestyle and respected him for it.

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In the beginning of the novel Boo is perceived to never go outside, later in the story it known that he is scared of the outside society, but something inside him takes action and becomes brave towards the end of the book. “Somebody was staggerin’ around and pantin’ and – coughing a fit to die. I thought it was Jem at first, but it didn’t sound like him, so I went lookin’ for Jem on the ground. I thought Atticus had come to help us and got wore out -.” (Lee, 270). This quotation depicts Scout talking to Sherriff Tate about the course of events that happened after the pageant. As said, Scout expects Attius, in her eyes a noble character, to help her, not Boo Radley because it was just so unusual and out of character for him. This scene demonstrates the amount of growth Boo has gone through, from starting out as timid and afraid to standing up for Jem and Scout in their time of need. It is clear now that his outer shell of fright has melted and that he has sprouted into a stronger man.

Event though Boo is portrayed to be malevolent and an inhumane creature, he has proven to be a kind soul to others despite the isolated life he lives. ““You never told me anything about that night,” I said. Jem waved my words away as if fanning gnats. He was silent for awhile, then he said, “When I went back for my breeches- they were all in a tangle when I was gettin’ out of ‘em loose. When I went back, they were folded across the fence… like they were expectin’ me.” “Across-“ “And something else-“ Jem’s voice was flat “Show you when you get home. They’d been sewed up. Not like lay sewed ‘em, like somethin’ I’d try to do. All crooked.” (Lee, 58). This conversation took place between Jem and Scout after the night were they tried to sneak into the Radley Place, Jem describes how he lost his pants were poorly sewn up, as if someone, Boo, was expecting him. Boo didn’t have to stitch up Jem’s pants, but he did it out of the kindness in his heart. This tells us that despite false rumors about him, Boo Radley still cares about people, no matter who they are. He still cares about the children that were bothersome to him because Boo has the best interest at heart.

From the start of the book it was learned that the horrifying rumors about Boo Radley, a dangerous gang member who was frowned upon in society, were false. Even though Boo Radley wasn’t a perfect moral man, he flourished and changed throughout the novel and became a well-rounded character with kind attributes, brave heart, and understood state of mind.


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