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For the children, Boo Radley represents the biggest mystery in their lives. They are obsessed with him and his personal history and with the rumors and gossip about him. From the beginning of the story until its tender conclusion when Scout walks Boo home, trying to unravel the truth about Boo and his life inside the Radley house occupies the children's daily thoughts. They try to pry information about Boo out of their father, and Scout asks Miss Maudie questions about Boo, drawing her into a serious conversation in which Maudie shoots down the outlandish gossip and gives Scout a clearer idea of the truth.
Once episode in the novel especially emphasizes Jem, Scout, and Dill's persistent curiosity about Boo. They simply must find a way to make him come out. Jem tells Dill to just knock on the Radley's front door, but to be prepared to die after he does it. From this starting point, the children decide to raid the Radley property to draw Boo out. After a dare, much discussion, and final negotiations between Dill and Jem, it is decided. Jem will go into the Radley's yard, run up to the house, slap it, and then run for his life. Dill predicted the likely results of Jem's daring:
He'll probably come out after you when he sees you in the yard, then Scout 'n' me'll jump on him and hold him down till we can tell him we ain't gonna hurt him.
Jem slaps the house and lives to tell about it because Boo does not come out. Their curiosity unsatisfied, the three then move on to other methods, such as trying to communicate with Boo by attaching a note to a fishing pole, intending to send it through his window. They thought it was a great plan. Atticus, however, did not.
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