In To Kill a Mockingbird, the kids see Boo as a strange and frightening figure in chapter 5. How do Maudie and Atticus view him?

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 5, you will also note that Maudie says she still believes Boo to be alive and well when she says,

“His name’s Arthur and he’s alive... I know he’s alive, Jean Louise, because I haven’t seen him carried out yet.”

This highlights the fact that Maudie might not believe all the rumors about Boo Radley because she chooses to respect his given name of Arthur. This identifies him as a person with feelings, not a "malevolent phantom" or peeping tom.

Later Miss Maudie gives Jean Louise some of Arthur's past:

I remember Arthur Radley when he was a boy. He always spoke nicely to me, no matter what folks said he did. Spoke as nicely as he knew how.”

This shows Maudie also agrees that Arthur Radley had strong values.

Later in the chapter, Atticus gives the kids a piece of his mind that included giving Arthur the respect he deserved for keeping to himself in these words:

What Mr. Radley did was his own business. If he wanted to come out, he would. If he wanted to stay inside his own house he had the right to stay inside free from the attentions of inquisitive children, which was a mild term for the likes of us. How would we like it if Atticus barged in on us without knocking, when we were in our rooms at night? We were, in effect, doing the same thing to Mr. Radley. What Mr. Radley did might seem peculiar to us, but it did not seem peculiar to him. Furthermore, had it never occurred to us that the civil way to communicate with another being was by the front door instead of a side window? Lastly, we were to stay away from that house until we were invited there, we were not to play an asinine game he had seen us playing or make fun of anybody on this street or in this town-


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To Kill a Mockingbird

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