In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, what did Arthur Radley and the other boys do that got them in trouble?

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mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the first chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is giving us the history of Maycomb. She tells how the town is a tired old town and how everything works in the town. We learn that Jem will break his arm in the future, which is important to remember, and we learn about Atticus. Scout then begins to go into detail about Boo Radley. She is telling Dill the rumors the whole town tells about Boo.

When Boo was a young boy, he and his friends were not the good kids, and they caused some trouble in Maycomb. Boo and his friends stole a car and locked the county officer in the courthouse outhouse. Boo's father kept him at home to try to keep him out of trouble. It has been said that Boo stabs his father in the leg with a pair of scissors. His father still keeps him at home, because he doesn't want the family to be disgraced by sending Boo to an asylum. These stories give the kids even more of a desire to get Boo to come outside of the house.

What we learn later in the story, is that Boo is really a good person. Atticus is strongly against the children bothering him. It is interesting that Boo stabbed his father, because near the end of the story, we see another time when Boo stabs someone. Boo is one of the greatest characters ever written. His love for Jem and Scout is unconditional and he will go to any lengths to protect them and keep them safe. Boo does protect them and Atticus and the sheriff, in turn, protect Boo, as well. This is the beauty of what kind of relationship Boo has with the Finch family. 

tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Arthur (Boo) Radley got involved with some of the more rowdy Cunningham kids when he was younger. No one dared to tell his father that he was running around with a rough crowd because his father was very mean and unapproachable. According to Miss Stephanie Crawford, the boys "borrowed" an old car and backed it around the main square while yelling and screaming one night. An officer named Mr. Connor tried to arrest the boys, but instead, they were able to lock him up in the courthouse outhouse. The list of charges that were brought against the boys are as follows:

". . . so the boys came before the probate judge on charges of disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, assault and battery, and using abusive and profane language in the presence and hearing of a female" (10).

As a result, the judge sentenced the boys to attend a "state industrial school" but Mr. Radley saw that as a disgraceful punishment. So he promised the judge to release his boy into his custody and vowed that the town would never see any further problems from Arthur ever again.

mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Arthur "Boo" Radley and several other boys get into trouble with youthful pranks.  The book never states directly what the boys did to cause Boo's father to confine him to the house.   What really gets just Boo into more and serious trouble is that he stabs his father in the leg with a scissors.  This incident leads his father to conclude that it is best if Arthur remains confined to the house indefinitely.  Arthur finds after many years in the house that he feels safe there while the outside world feels threatening to him as he is considered "different." 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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