What do the children do in the Boo Radley game?
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Scout and Jem are afraid of their neighbor Boo Radley. When their new friend Dill comes to town for the summer and they tell him about Boo, he becomes increasingly interested in the stories. Dill wants to get Boo Radley to come out of the house and dares Jem to make that happen. Jem thinks it over for three days while Dill accuses him of being scared. Finally Dill settles on daring Jem to run up and touch the house. He figures Boo Radley will come out after that anyway. Finally, Jem works up the courage, runs into the yard, slaps the side of the house, and sprints home to his own porch. The other children follow and once they're safely home, they think they see a shutter inside the Radley house moving.
In the Boo Radley game, the children act out the rumors the town spreads of Boo, and continues to enjoy this little game until Attivus catched them and tells them to stop, that is when Scout shows maturity and no longer plays the game with Jem and Dill.
In this game, the children actually pretend to be the Radley family and enact the various lurid incidents that popular gossip ascribes to the family. They make quite a drama of it. Scout, as the only female is rather unwillingly relegated to the role of Mrs Radley, Boo's mother. They imagine her as a decrepit old woman with little hair, few teeth and lacking a finger which supposedly was bitten off by Boo. Jem pretends to be Boo and Dill is Mr Radley. The central incident which they act out is the supposed stabbing of Mr Radley by Boo. Scout remarks that 'it looked real'.
The children invest a lot of time and energy in the game, showing just how much of a hold the Radleys have upon their imagination. However, one day Atticus catches them at it and from then on their enthusiasm for the game dwindles somewhat. Scout also wants to stop the game as she once heard laughter from inside the house and conjectures that Boo is probably watching them play the game. Of course, they also lose interest in it as they grow older and find other pursuits. Furthermore, reality itself becomes more grim than their harmless little drama could ever be; with Tom Robinson's trial, with all its attendant racism and injustice, as well as the sordid and sorry spectacle of the Ewells, the children learn about the darker side of human nature and the world in actuality.
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