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In To Kill a Mockingbird, describe the relationship Scout, Jem and Dill have with Boo...

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lindsaylrod | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 14, 2011 at 8:25 AM via web

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, describe the relationship Scout, Jem and Dill have with Boo Radley in Part One?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 14, 2011 at 8:53 AM (Answer #1)

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Jem and Scout have lived near the Radley house all their lives, and they have heard rumors about the after-dark activities of Boo Radley. Naturally, they are curious about Boo, but it is not until Dill comes to visit do the children actively try to get a glimpse of Boo. Dill's curiosity nearly overwhelms him: It is Dill who invents the Boo Radley game and who instigates most of the activity that the kids intitiate around the Radley house. All three of them fear Boo, but they still want to catch a look at him. However, when Scout finds the first gift in the secret knothole, she and Jem slowly begin to realize that Boo may not be as horrible as they had assumed. The gifts get better until Boo's brother decides to cement the knothole; Jem realizes that it has been done to prevent further contact with Boo, and he considers it a mean thing to have been done to Boo. Two final acts make Jem and Scout realize that Boo is actually a friendly neighbor: Jem finds his lost pants patched and folded on the fence, and he realizes that only Boo could have done it. On the night of Miss Maudie's house fire, Scout finds a blanket draped across her shoulders to keep her warm, and Atticus explains that it comes from Boo. By the beginning of Part Two, the two kids know that Boo is not to be feared, and they decide to give up their attempts to make contact with him out of respect for his privacy. Even Dill seems to have accepted Jem's and Scout's decision, since when he comes to visit in Part Two, he no longer seems interested in Boo.

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yusur | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted August 14, 2011 at 8:53 AM (Answer #2)

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The children's relationship with Boo in Part One is important in that this subplot sets the stage for the greater trial coming up in the adult world around them. Jem, Scout and Dill first have their own notions about Boo and none of them are very complimentary. They are drawn to him by a sort of morbid fascination which has been encouraged by all the hearsay going on about Boo's domestic violence and night rambling. They are prejudiced against Boo in the same way that the white community is prejudiced against Tom Robinson.   Their attitude changes, however, when Boo patches up Jem's pants, then leaves little presents in the hole in the tree. Boo takes the first step to be the children's friend, even if it is only a "virtual" kind of way.   The children's attitude towards Boo Radley begins to change even if they still have a gut fear of him actually coming around. When he puts a blanket around Scout as she watches Miss Maudie's house burn down, Jem and Scout are later in awe that they actually got that close. They harbour some fear of him even if they are aware that he means them no harm.  At the end of Part One, the reader can't help but wonder if the children aren't doing a better job at overcoming their unjustified fears and prejudice than the grownups in Maycomb. Also, a correlation arises between Boo and Tom, two innocent people ostracised and "found guilty" in the Deep South mind frame of the 1930s.

can you help me with this question?

some readers think that jem's broken arm symbolizes the wound that the system of segregation inflicted on white southerners. what do you think of this idea? what evidence can you find in the story that the author might have intended to make the broken arm a symbol?

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