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Scout has lived near the Radley home her entire life. The house is creepy enough to her, but she has heard rumors as long as she can remember about Arthur Radley, who she has never seen. His nickname to everyone in Maycomb is "Boo," presumably for his ghost-like persona. Boo is only seen at night (and very rarely at that), creeping around in the shadows. He is accused of every unsolved crime that occurs in Maycomb, and Miss Stephanie Crawford claims that he peeks in her windows after dark. Worse of all are the rumors of Boo's bloodthirstiness. Wild animals and pets are in danger when Boo is around, and Jem claims that he has been known to eat squirrels raw. The fact that Boo may be mentally unstable is another cause for concern among the children. Even the truthful tales about Boo--that he stabbed his father with a pair of scissors, for example--are unnerving to Scout. Of course, all of this changes once Scout and Jem begin receiving gifts in the secret knothole. They soon come to realize that Boo is no monster, but a friendly, though mysterious and invisible, neighbor.
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