I need a few quotations for my essay on the book 'How to Kill a Mockingbird'. My essay is about how Boo Radley is like a second father to the children. 

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, since fathers often typically express love by giving their children gifts, it can be argued that Boo Radley acts as a second father to the children by leaving them gifts in the knot-hole of an oak tree that stands on the Radley property. The most substantial point of proof that Radley is leaving gifts because he cares is the moment he leaves bars of soap hand carved in the children's images. Prior to this moment, he left more trivial things such as tinfoil and chewing gum, things that were difficult to tie directly to Radley. When Jem sees the soap figurines, he notes that they were done with excellent skill. Scout also notes in her narrative that they were carved to look just like the children:

The boy had on shorts, and a shock of soapy hair fell to his eyebrows. ... Jem looked from the girl-doll to me. The girl-doll wore bangs. So did I. (Ch. 7)

Only someone who cares like a father would take the time to carve figurines out of soap that look just like the children he cares for. In addition, we know for sure that Radley made the soap carvings because he is the only one in the neighborhood known to be able to carve with any skill.

Beyond the gifts left in the tree, the moment Radley sneaks out of his house to place a blanket around Scout's shoulders even more significantly indicates that Radley is a second father figure for the children. In Chapter 8, while the children are observing the town putting out Miss Maudie's fire from the safe distance of the gate in front of the Radleys' place, Radley, thinking Scout might be cold and scared and wanting to comfort her, sneaked out of his house behind her and draped a blanket around her shoulders without her even noticing. We particularly learn Boo Radley gave Scout the blanket when Atticus says hopefully Scout can thank him someday and, in answer to her question, "Thank who?," Atticus replies, "Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn't know it when he put the blanket around you" (Ch. 8). Boo Radley's thoughtfulness and care in this moment definitely shows he is acting like a second father figure to the children.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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