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How do Scout and Jem treat Boo Radley at the beginning of the novel?Describe two...

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lexishanklin | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 17, 2008 at 12:49 PM via web

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How do Scout and Jem treat Boo Radley at the beginning of the novel?

Describe two incidents which support your generalization.

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dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted September 17, 2008 at 2:32 PM (Answer #1)

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The novel begins with the children trying to make sense of this person called Boo Radley. They are more curious than concerned with this individual's circumstance. The first incident occurs when Jem is "dared" by Dill to touch the porch of the Radley house. When people "dare you" it usually indicates a challenge to do something that is "forbidden". Harper Lee suggests that it is up to the individual whether or not they will accept what is "forbidden" by society. Boo Radley is not treated with humanity or respect, he is "unknown" and a "mystery" to the community. The children learn from what Atticus teaches; to look beyond what you have been told, "walk in their shoes". Atticus Finch taught his children how to be human beings.

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 17, 2008 at 2:46 PM (Answer #2)

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Scout and Jem do not really meet Boo Radley at the beginning of the novel. However, he is a central figure in their imaginations and as such, he is treated like a ghost or, as they sometimes call him, "a monster". During the first summer in the novel, they make plans to lure "the monster" out. They even compete with each other to see who can get the closest to him. Then Dill, their friend, makes up a new game, the Boo Radley game. They make up stories about his life and dramatize them like a play. None of the children think about the fact that their game may be hurting the humans inside the Radley house who can hear the children's games through their windows.

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khan10 | Student, Grade 9 | Honors

Posted March 24, 2010 at 2:43 PM (Answer #3)

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'Boo' Radley is a distant, blurred figure in Maycomb. His mysterious ways only contribute more to the myths and rumors constantly exchanged in Maycomb about him. The children (Jem and Scout) have grown up in an environment that supports those rumors due to a need of the society to focus its problems and failures on others. Though, their father, Atticus, prefers to judge others based not on circumstantial evidence but on his own experiences, the children are fascinated by this creature. They eagerly discuss this savage and exchange their own stories of how his hands are stained with the blood of the innocent animals he has slaughtered as well as how he progressed to attack his own father with a pair of scissors. Their curiosity eventually leads them to participate in many dares each involving 'Boo' Radley.

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