Mistaken Impressions Of Boo Radley

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, the main characters, Jem and Scout, a brother and sister, develop their own perception of Boo Radley, their neighbor. Especially in the beginning of the story, Boo Radley dominates the children’s imaginations. We see that their mistaken impression of him is clearly prevalent throughout the story. In the first chapter, Jem, Scout, and their friend Dill, describes Boo as a “malevolent phantom”(pg. 9, Lee) since he was a recluse, and thus never seen. This and the fact that the Radley house’s doors and shutters were always closed most likely gave way to the misconceptions about Boo Radley. Any small works of crimes were thought to be committed by him. For example, when people’s garden flowers froze in a cold snap, it was said that Boo Radley had breathed on them.…show more content…
As a result, all of the children are scared of Boo. For example, a ball accidently hit into Radley’s yard was a lost ball, no questions asked. However, Jem and Scout realize later in the book that Boo Radley fits none of the malicious profiles that they had so long associated him with. After a fire nearly burns down Miss Maudie’s house, in which Scout and Jem were in at the time, Scout asks Jem who saved her. He replies, “Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire, you didn’t know it when he put the blanket around you” (pg. 82, Lee). Boo Radley is a kind man concerned for the safety and well-being of others which he showed by successfully saving Scout from the fire. By doing so, Boo unknowingly helps eliminate the negative perception of himself in Jem and Scout’s mind. From this, we see that what one thinks of another is not always true, especially if it is based on rumors and other sources of uncertain credibility. In the case of Jem and Scout, they only know what they are told by other children at

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