Why does Scout start to cry at the end of Chapter 29 when she says hello to Boo in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Scout has been remarkably cool and calm as she describes what has happened on her way back from the Halloween pageant. She has finished telling her story to Sheriff Tate, who then asks her who the man was who was "staggerin' around and pantin' and--coughing fit to die." Scout points to the unknown man who has been standing in the corner the whole time.

"... there he is, Mr. Tate. He can tell you his name."  (Chapter 29)

But as she, for the first time, takes a good look at the man, Scout notices his "sickly white hands," his white face, his hollow cheeks, and his "colorless" gray eyes. When the man finally smiles at her, Scout suddenly realizes it is Boo Radley,

"... and our neighbor's image blurred with my sudden tears."  (Chapter 29)

Scout's greatest fantasy--that of one day meeting Boo and having an innocent conversation with him--has miraculously come true, and the emotion of this revelation causes Scout to run for Jem's bedroom to cover up her embarrassment "by covering Jem up."


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