In Chapter 5 of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, how does Miss Maudie know that Boo Radley is still alive? 

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In Chapter 5 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout has a very straightforward conversation with Miss Maudie about the possibility of Arthur (Boo) Radley still being alive.

In Chapter 5, Scout asks Miss Maudie, "How do you know ... [t]hat B--Mr. Arthur's still alive?" Scout's question is incited by the game her brother invented to act out the life of Arthur Radley, known only based on rumors and myths. Jem had devised the game in response to Dill's idea to try and get Arthur to come out of his house. Yet, Scout began feeling doubtful about the ethics of mocking a man's life in a game, so she began to bow out of the game and spend more time with Miss Maudie rather than her brother or Dill.

Miss Maudie's answer to what she calls Scout's "morbid question" is very straightforward: "I know he's alive Jean Louise, because I haven't seen him carried out yet."

Scout's question further incites Miss Maudie to explain a little about Arthur Radley's background as a means of attempting to explain the unknowable--why Arthur never leaves his house. Miss Maudie informs Scout that Arthur's father was a "foot-washing Baptist," and foot-washing Baptists interpret the Bible in very strict ways, specifically interpreting the Bible as speaking out against all things that bring pleasure as sinful. Hence, while no one can truly understand why Arthur chooses to remain in his house, Miss Maudie's information leaves open the possibility that Arthur chooses to stay inside because he has been taught to believe that experiencing pleasure, such as the pleasure of being outside, is a sin.

Therefore, Scout's straightforward conversation with Miss Maudie about Arthur Radley is very informative because it crushes some of the myths surrounding Arthur, such as that he died and was stuffed up his chimney, and helps to provide a small explanation for his behavior.

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