Why Is Boo Radley Misunderstood In To Kill A Mockingbird

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American physicist and author Lester Levenson once said, “Until we become fully free, we put up a false front, a facade, to others for the purpose of winning the acceptance and approval of others” (“Lester Levenson Quote”). Leverson’s profound words resonate within both people and fictional characters, such as those in the acclaimed novel To Kill a Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, told through the eyes of a young child, Scout Finch, is the story of a family living in the Great Depression stricken American South during the 1930s. While those around her reflect the racist and prejudiced views of their society, Scout and her brother Jem are raised by their father Atticus to not conform to these beliefs. Although a minority, the …show more content…

After getting in trouble for typical rebellious adolescent behavior, Boo Radley has rarely been seen outside of his house. The mystery surrounding him makes others in the town intrigued about the “malevolent phantom” that “went out at night when the moon was down, and peeped in windows” (Lee 10-11). Due to a combination of children’s imaginations and the variety of rumors spread throughout the town, people assumed Boo Radley was “about six-and-a-half feet tall” with “a long jagged scar that ran across his face” and “what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time” (Lee 16). The people of Maycomb were not accustomed to people who differed from them in any way and any minor difference could make them an outcast. When “The shutters and doors of the Radley house were closed on Sundays, another thing alien to Maycomb’s ways”, it was recognized as unusual and it further enhanced the beliefs that Boo Radley was a ‘monster’. It was rumored that Boo Radley was getting his ‘revenge’, so “ every scratch of feet on gravel was Boo Radley” and “every passing Negro laughing in the night was Boo Radley loose and after us” (Lee 74). Society, unfamiliar to recluses, could not justify his actions to be isolated. The narrow-mindedness of society propels people to believe any excuse that explains the differences in people. Lee uses Boo Radley to show the contrast that exists between the fabricated images of people and their true selves. The rumors of Boo Radley created an image of an insane, non-human creature to disguise the goodness of his true self that was misunderstood through his ways of living. Anytime Scout faced danger, Boo Radley protected her and the others from any harm. When Miss Maudie’s house caught on fire and the children were outside in the middle of the night, when “‘[Scout was] so busy looking at the fire [she] didn’t even know it when he

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