Written By: Kayla
June 1, 2015
In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the chapters that include Boo Radley are some of the most intriguing parts in the story. I think everyone who reads this book is a little skeptical about Boo in the beginning. As you get deeper into the book you start to see what kind of a person Boo Radley really is.
After reading the first chapter I was already frightened by Boo and I was scared for Jem and Scout because they live so close to him. In chapter one, Scout was talking about Maycomb County and some of the people that live there. She told a story about Boo, “According to Miss Stephanie, Boo was sitting in the livingroom cutting some items from The Maycomb Tribune to paste in his scrapbook. His father entered the room. As Mr. Radley passed by, Boo drove the scissors into his parent’s leg, pulled them out, wiped him on his pants, and resumed his activities” (11). Boo was then sent to the courthouse basement because his father said that no Radley would be put into an insane asylum. After Boo returned home, no one ever saw him again. At this point I thought Boo was going to kill Jem and Scout at some point in the book. Jem and Scout found a hole in a tree outside the Radley house and they kept finding strange things left in the tree. Later, they realize the person leaving them “gifts” was Boo. One of the things he put in there was one of the creepiest parts of the whole story. They had found bars of soap carved into figurines of Jem and Scout. “The boy had shorts, and a shock of soapy hair fell to his eyebrows. I looked up at Jem. A point of straight brown hair kicked downwards from his part. I had never noticed it before. Jem looked from the girl-doll to me. The girl-doll wore bangs. So did I. “These are us,” he said” (60). They tried to figure out who would have that much time on their hands. Boo Radley is locked up inside his house all day so he has plenty of time. Also, Jem and Scout walk past there everyday so Boo must look out the window to see what they look like. Boo seemed like he was stalking the kids, but I soon realized that he was just trying to be nice to them.
One night, Jem, Scout, and Dill all decide to go to the Radley house to try and look inside. Jem was about to look inside when a shadow crossed over him and walked around him. Once it was gone they ran and slid under the gate. Jem, however, couldn’t fit so he had to take his pants off and leave them there. Later that night, Jem decided to go get his pants back. A few days later he finally decided to tell Scout what happened when he went back to get his pants. “‘When I went back, they were folded across the fence… like they were expectin’ me’” then he said, “‘They’d been sewed up. Not like a lady sewed ‘em, like somethin’ I’d try to do. All crooked’” (58). Nathan Radley was the one walking around his house because he heard a noise so it couldn’t have been him. The only other man in the house was Boo. This is when my feelings started to change about him. I realized that he’s just looking out for Jem and Scout and he wanted to help. Then, when Miss. Maudie’s house was burning down Jem and Scout sat and watched. When they got back inside Atticus told Scout that she needed to thank the person who put a blanket over her while they were watching. Scout didn’t realize that someone had put a blanket on her so she asked Atticus who it was. Atticus told her, “‘Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn’t know it when he put the blanket around you’” (72). This shows that Boo Radley cares about the kids. He’s not out to get them like Scout and Jem think he is. I think he is trying to show them that he has changed since the scissors incident.
The part that really made me realize that Boo Radley wasn’t insane was the night of the play. Jem and Scout went alone because Atticus had to work. They had to walk home alone. While they were walking they could hear someone following them. After a while the person started to chase them. As they were running, Jem was pulled back but Scout kept running. She heard Jem scream and something snap. Something slashed the back of Scout’s costume for the play, a knife. She saw the person who attacked them struggling. Scout still couldn’t find Jem. Then, she looked back and saw someone carrying Jem to their house. Dr. Reynolds came and said that the man who attacked them broke Jem’s arm. When Scout was told to tell everything that happened, she got to the end where someone carried Jem home. She then realized that the person was sitting in the corner of the room. “His lips parted into a timid smile, and our neighbor’s image blurred with my sudden tears. ‘Hey, Boo,’ I said” (270). They found Bob Ewell under a tree, dead. Everyone soon realized that Boo Radley killed him to save Jem and Scout.
At the start, I never thought that Boo Radley would be such a big part of this book. I especially didn’t expect the guy who stabbed his own dad to end up saving Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell. This goes to show everyone in Maycomb that Boo has changed and there’s more to him than just the rumors and his past. The lesson that Boo Radley brought to the story was, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Just because of someone’s past mistakes, that doesn’t mean the person can’t change.