Intimidation In To Kill A Mockingbird

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“Atticus said no, it wasn’t that sort of thing, that there were other ways of making people into ghosts.” ( Chpt. 1, p11) Atticus says this to Scout and Jem in chapter one when the children speculate about the methods of intimidation Mr. Radley used to keep Boo Radley out of sight. Jem suspects that Mr. Radley keeps Boo Radley chained to the bed most of the time. Atticus points out to the children that there are “other ways of making people into ghosts”. The children frequently question their father about the Radleys, especially Boo, the mysterious recluse from three doors down. When questioned, Atticus rarely tells Scout and Jem anything more than to stop tormenting Boo Radley, and not to be nosey. This happens at a point in the plot…show more content…
Radley keeps him out of sight. Jem is quick to assume that Mr. Radley uses a physical means of restriction, tying Boo to the bed-post. What Jem doesn’t realize due to his young age and innocence, is that physical intimidation is not the only way to control someone. In some cases emotional and fear based intimidation can be the most powerful way to keep a person under control. For example, if a person is isolated, they feel alone and like they have nobody to turn to. This will make them feel trapped, and less likely to contradict their controller or stand up for themselves. Take the rumours about Boo Radley for example. In Maycomb, a small town where everybody knows everybody, Boo Radley disappeared from the public eye and instantly became the subject of terrible rumours. If he ever needed help and tried to seek it from the people of Maycomb, it is very unlikely that anyone would help him due to how he was viewed: a troubled man who could be a potential threat to society. When Atticus says that there are many other ways of making people into ghosts, he means that it does not have to be physical intimidation. He is suggesting to Jem that perhaps Boo Radley is being kept under control because Mr. Radley is using some other means. This is a powerful quote because it introduces ideas about how Boo Radley is treated at home. This also introduces Boo Radley as being a mockingbird. Atticus

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