At the beginning of the novel, Boo's character provides an atmosphere of mystery and fear, especially for the children. Boo has not left his home since he was a teenager, and gossip is consistently spread about him. Many of the adults of Maycomb have not tried to stop the rumors about Boo, and some adults have even spread the rumors themselves. Jem, Dill, and Scout spend their summer trying to lure Boo out of his house, and Scout stops playing this game when she hears laughter from inside the house. The childrens' fear has been fostered through the prejudice and ignorance of the same townspeople who want Tom Robinson convicted of rape. As the novel progresses, Boo's true character begins to shine through, showing him to be a gentle soul, just like Tom Robinson. If not for Boo, Jem and Scout would have been killed by Bob Ewell.