What aspects of the Radley family make them unusual in Maycomb in "To Kill a Mockingbird"? Please refer to Chapter 1.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As a small Southern town, Maycomb would normally have a citizenry that know each other and socialize, at least at the town square and in stores, neighborhoods, etc.  However, the Radleys are very reclusive.  As Scout describes Atticus:

He liked Maycomb...he knew his people, they knew him, and....Atticus was related by blood or marriage to nearly every family in town.

On the main residential street, most homes are well-cared for, but the Radley house has not been painted and the shingles are rain-rotted; the yard has weeds and debris in it.  Now there is a superstition attached to this house and its occupants.  "A Negro would not pass the Radley Place and night...A baseball his into the Radley yeard was a lost ball and no questions asked."

The shutters and doors are closed and Mr. Radley only comes out for an hour a day and speaks to no one; Mrs. Radley never socializes, Boo Radley, their son has not been seen for fifteen years.  One day he put a scissors through his father's leg; after that Boo was put in the courthouse jail.  Then, he returned home.  After Mr. Radley died, Nathan Radley, Boo's brother, moved in and acted much the same as his father except for speaking to Scout's family. 

One day the children let curiosity get the better of them; on a dare Jem touches the old house, then runs with the others to the Finch porch:  "The old house was the same, droopy and sick, but...we thought we saw an inside shutter move. Flick...and the house was still."

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