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In "To Kill a Mockingbird", who is Mr. Radley?

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roxy-lyssa101 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 14, 2009 at 7:26 AM via web

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In "To Kill a Mockingbird", who is Mr. Radley?

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 14, 2009 at 8:15 AM (Answer #1)

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There are three possibilites.  One is the father of the Radley household, a Mr. Radley, who had two sons.  He was the patriarch of the family for a long time, a "foot-washing Baptist" (someone who takes the bible very literally, and is super strict), and, as Cal states, "the meanest man God ever blew breath into."  He is the one who went to the courthouse on behalf of his son, Arthur, who had gotten in trouble and was going to be sent to a boys' school.  He told the judge he would make sure Arthur never got in trouble again.  He took Arthur home, and pretty much kept him prisoner in their home for the rest of his life.  After Mr. Radly number one died, Arthur's older brother (Nathan Radley) came back home to live, taking old Mr. Radley's place, and he was just as mean.  So, Nathan is referred to as Mr. Radley also.

In the book Boo Radley (Arthur) is sometimes referred to as Mr. Radley, especially at the end when they have more interaction with him.  But, he is nicknamed Boo because the neighborhood children live in fear that he is a "malevolent phantom", and the townspeople sprea rumors about his crimes.  Really, as you will discover, he is a super nice guy.

I hope that helps; good luck!

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