From the start, the reader was always given the impression that Scout was immature and would never grow up as long as she kept on acting the way she does with others. One of Scout’s biggest fears would probably be Arthur Radley, also known as Boo Radley. Arthur Radley is a middle aged man who is imprisoned in his house forced to spend the days in solitude. Miss Stephanie Crawford spreads widely imaginative rumors about Arthur and how he is supposed to look. This impression causes the children to fear Arthur Radley. Scout is but an immature child as the novel begins and her impressions of Boo’s character are fearful and scary.
From the beginning of the novel, Scout has always been curious of what Boo looks like, but on the other hand, she is frightened to find out. Scout is terrified by the image of Boo Radley and doesn’t stop to think of how sad his life must be, being locked up in his house against his own will. Scout believes that Boo is “six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks” (Chapter 1 Pg. 7) and that “he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that’s why his hands were bloodstained” (Chapter 1 Pg. 7). Scout is very childish, she lets her imagination flow about Boo Radley and she fails to think about the other side of the story, Boo’s side of the story. As she returns from school every day, she runs as she passes the Radley house, she is too terrified and engulfed in her imaginations to realize that there is nothing to be afraid of and when Dill and Jem begin to grow closer and carry out risky missions to get a peek of Boo, she brings out her immature self when she denies going with them and telling them that it would be dangerous, but really, she is truthfully scared on the inside.
In later Chapters, Scout’s character begins to slowly improve and develop as she learns to be sympathetic for Boo. Her character changes as she learns about Boo’s past as a child from Miss Maudie. Scout begins to mature at this part when she realizes that Boo is the victim of his father and family. Boo plays a large role on her character in the middle of the novel because, after she learns about Boo’s past she begins to realize that appearances can be deceiving. To add on even more to this, her grateful attitude and her new impression of Boo are enforced when she realizes that Boo had put a blanket on her when Miss Maudie’s house was on fire. During the school year, Scout and Jem begins to receive gifts from Boo, she realizes that Boo is a very kind man who watches over them. Her character changes here again when she begins to fear Boo less and less, but instead, she wants to leave him alone to give him his privacy. As Jem and Scout begin to realize that they should give a thank you letter to Boo, we realize that Scout is becoming more and more of a proper lady acting like a lady should. She feels thankful for everything that has been given to them by Boo and she appreciates his deeds. But, here in the novel, the readers can infer that Boo does not want them to give him the thank you letter because he wants privacy and he know what would happen if Nathan Radley finds them.
In the end, Scout’s character is heavily impacted by Boo when Jem and her as rescued by Boo during the night of the pageant when they are attacked by Bob Ewell. When she realizes that it was Boo who saved them, she finally understands that all the mean and harsh rumors about him were all lies, but in reality, Boo was a kind loving man, who watched over her, protecting her. Her character here changes drastically where she drops the whole tomboy act and instantly turns into a proper lady. She matures deeper to understanding what Atticus had meant when he told her that she had to walk in someone’s skin to understand them. As she walks Boo home she makes sure no one can make any more rumors about him by making it look like Boo was escorting her. As Scout stands on the porch, her character has undergone a serious modification into a proper and considerate lady of Maycomb. Along with her new character, she realizes that the truth is, Boo just wants to be left alone and given the joy of watching over his “kids”. Finally, she understands now that Boo is a mocking bird, and innocent man of justice, as she looks back on this event she has truly changed. She has realized that Boo was like their guardian, and deep down she had known this all along.
Scout is an immature “brat” in the beginning of the story, but over the courses of 31 chapters, her character is dramatically changed by the impact of Boo Radley. This man who was feared by her had now become her hero and friend. She realizes in the end that Boo is a caring person who looked over her, protecting her, and someone who gave her the gift of life. She changes where as she has completely dropped her immature character and developed a more understanding and proper character. Through her experiences with Boo, she has come to understand 2 themes in the novel: innocence can be found in different forms and appearances can be deceiving.