To Kill A Mockingbird Essay: The Truth About Boo Radley

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The Truth About Boo Radley in To kill a Mockingbird


First impressions of people are often lasting impressions, especially in the minds of children. Many times these impressions, aided by misunderstanding and prejudgment, cause unjust discrimination against an individual. To kill a Mockingbird depicts the themes of misunderstanding and prejudice that portray Arthur (Boo) Radley as a villain. Through the progressive revelation of Radley's character, the children realize that their negative impressions and fear of him were unfounded. Through gradual stages of change, from total misunderstanding of Boo, to a realization of an error in judgment, to a reevaluation followed by a change of heart, to a growing trust and acceptance of Boo
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Her dislike of Radley is well described in an offhand remark to the children: "There goes the meanest man ever God blew breath into" (Lee 12). The children, aided by neighborhood legends, make their own conclusions about Radley. Based on prejudice and myth, Jem compiles a very detailed description of Radley:

Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that's why his hands were bloodstained-if you ate an animal raw, you could never wash the blood off. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time (Lee 13).

Dill, through his curious and innovative character, also helps to heighten and shed light on the mystery around the Radley house.

“Let's try to make him come out,” said Dill. “I'd like to see what he looks like.” Jem said if Dill wanted to get himself killed, all he had to do was go up and knock on the front door. Our first raid came to pass only because Dill bet Jem The Gray Ghost against two Tom Swifts that Jem wouldn't get any farther than the Radley gate. In all his life, Jem had never declined a dare (Lee 13).

Furthermore, on top of all the misjudgments brought on by the children, the general public discriminates against Radley. "People said he went out at night when the moon was down, and peeped in…

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