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The home of the mysterious phantasm, Boo Radley, the Radley Place is just down the street from the Finch Family home in Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. It is the most discussed home in Maycomb and one that few people visit--to be avoided by children and adults alike.
Inside the house lived a malevolent phantom. People said he existed, but Jem and I never saw him... people still looked at the Radley Place, unwilling to discard their initial suspicions. A Negro would not pass the Radley Place at night, he would cut across to the sidewalk opposite and whistle as he walked... Radley pecans would kill you. A baseball hit into the Radley yard was a lost ball and no questions asked.
It was a house full of "misery," of which the doors and shutters were always closed. No one walked to the Radley porch to say "He-y" on Sunday afternoons. The old house was always the same, "droopy and sick," and it was just these attributes that created the aura of mystery that was a sure-fire lure to Jem, Scout and Dill.
I was uncertain that the book actually had a specific symbol. The Radley house had one been a symbol of the town's haunted house complete with a boogeyman. In chapter I the house is described as having a "malevolent phantom" living inside."(8)
"A negro would not pass the place at night."(9)
The house is also a symbol of oppression. Mr. Radley does not allow his wife nor his son's communication or interaction with the rest of the town's people. He prefers that his family keep to themselves. This allows the townspeople to create great speculation as to what occurs within the doors of the home.
"The misery of that house began long before Jem and I were born."(9)
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