the mockingbird

January 11, 2010
By Anonymous

Arthur “ Boo” Radley is the scapegoat and is a very interesting figure in the book To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. He is a mysterious character who takes on all the sins of the Town of Maycomb due to his introverted lifestyle. In the book, Boo doesn't really reveal himself until the end when he decides to come out of his house to help Jem and Scout. Throughout the book, Boo has two important traits that help transform the message of the story to the readers. Boo shows us his virtues through his protective qualities and his timid traits, which make him the real mockingbird of the story.
Boo's quality of protectiveness is shown throughout the book. His protectiveness is when Jem and Scout are standing outside, in the middle of the night, watching Miss Maudie's house burn down. It is a cold and chilly night, one of the coldest since 1885. While Jem and Scout are standing in the extreme cold, watching the fire, Boo comes out of his house and puts a blanket around Scout to keep her warm. Atticus tells her, “‘You were so busy looking at the fire you didn't know it when he put the blanket around you”' (72). This is the first time in the story that Boo has ever gone out of his house. It took a lot of motivation for him to leave the security of his house. The only other time Boo leaves his house is when he risks his own life to protect Scout. He protects her from the rage of the evil Bob Ewell and actually saves Jem and Scout's life. At the end of the book, Scout starts to think about the years that have gone by when she says, “ Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him”(279). When Scout says, “Boo's children needed him” she is showing a sense of ownership to Boo. She knows that Boo loves her and cares for her just like Atticus does. Scout treasures her memories of Boo. Boo's extreme virtue of protection is exhibited when Boo risks his own life. Boo cared more for the safety of Scout then he did his own fears.
In the beginning of the book, the children's image of Boo is of a mean or evil man. Later in the book, we learn that Boo is just a timid man, who is afraid of the outside world. One night Jem tells Scout, “‘ I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time… it's because he wants to stay inside”' (227). Jem was beginning to understand Boo's timid lifestyle. Boo is apparently timid and afraid of the outside world and all of its' hatred. However, Boo does heroically venture out of the house to save the children's lives. After Boo saves them, he is invited to the Finches' house. Once inside, Boo asks Scout, “‘ Will you take me home?”' “He almost whispered it, in the voice of a child afraid of the dark” (278). When Boo asks Scout to take him home, this is a sign of unrest. Boo walks home and sadly, Scout never sees him again. Her image of him has changed; he is not the mean monster she once imaged. “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.”
Arthur “ Boo” Radley is a man whom the whole town feared. Even Jem and Scout had once feared him too. It is ironic that so many people feared Boo because Boo is in fear of so much himself. But even with his fears, Boo is courageous. He risks his own life to save the lives of the children. The town wrongfully misjudges Boo. They believe he is in a lower class of people but in reality he is a truly a wealthy person. His wealth is seen through his sprit and love for the children. At the end of the story, Atticus sincerely thanks Boo for his children's lives. Harper Lee makes Boo the problem in our society and shows us that just because someone is different that doesn't mean they aren't good. The book To Kill A Mocking Bird could not be as moving as it was without the character of Boo. In the story, Miss Maudie describes a mocking bird as a bird that brings goodness, just like Boo's good traits. Boo's protective and timid traits make him the real mockingbird of the story.

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