Boo Radley leaves things for Jem and Scout in the knothole of the oak tree. Why?

2 Answers

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Boo Radley, from Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, is an outcast. Rumors of who he is, and what he has done, have been popular among the citizens of Maycomb and their children. Scout and Jem have heard many different rumors about Boo.

Given their curiosities about Boo, the children begin to venture closer and closer to the Radley home. Bets and dares are made to Jem regarding his "ability" to go into the yard, look in the windows, and touch the porch.

Boo, certainly, has seen the children wandering around his home. He has, most likely, watched the children with the same curiosity with which the children have watched him.

Therefore, the main reason why Boo would have left things for the children in the tree is to simply reach out to them. Most likely, Boo knows of the rumors that circulate Maycomb regarding his actions and his character. Given that the children are curious about him, he most likely wants to reach out to them, through gift-giving, in order to open the door to his acceptance.

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As was mentioned in the previous post, Boo Radley begins to leave various gifts in the knothole of the tree as a way to communicate and reach out to the children. Boo Radley is an extremely reclusive individual who rarely ventures from his home. It is suggested that Nathan Radley, Boo's authoritative brother, prevents Boo from leaving home. Since Boo is shy and cannot venture out into the community, he chooses to befriend Jem and Scout by leaving them gifts in the knothole of the tree. Boo notices and enjoys watching the children play throughout the neighborhood, and he is probably aware of their curious nature. Boo simply wants to be friends with Jem and Scout, and his gifts are a token of his friendship. Initially, the children are skeptical and fear Boo, but as the novel progresses they realize that he is a kind individual. 

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