How Is Boo Radley A Mockingbird

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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As one of the human mockingbirds of TKAM, Boo Radley was an innocent and harmless man accused of crimes he did not commit. Like Miss Maudie's definition of the mockingbird--they "don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy"--Boo was a man who did none of the things for which he was accused: He did not mutilate animals or eat them raw, nor did he poison pecans; instead, he attempted to befriend Jem and Scout, leaving them gifts to show his kindness. In the end, he saved their lives from the murderous hands of Bob Ewell, instantly transforming from the supposed neighborhood ghoul to neighborhood hero.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Among people living today who might be considered "vilified by society and who cannot speak up for themselves" (the definition given in the previous post), you might consider people who are politically or socially oppressed, especially political prisoners in various nations. I also thought of the "untouchables" in India and of the Tibetans in China.




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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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I agree with#2 in that looking for a modern day mockingbird would be to explore someone villified by society who cannot speak up for themselves. When a celebrity dies, for example Whitney Houston or Michael Jackson, lurid stories creep out into the media which are as ludicrous as Boo eating squirrels, but which nevertheless get air time.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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To address the second part of the question, one could consider Rue (from The Hunger Games) a mockingbird. Not only does she love Katniss' mockingjay pin, Katniss often refers to her as bird-like. One last way to connect Rue to the mockingbird is through her innocence.

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mccrearyacres | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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If you take the second portion of your question and think of who might be a victim of circumstances and/or at the mercy of society--the "who" can take on a number of characteristics. Any movie or music star or any person in the public spotlight whose personality is under a microscope and "we" as a society pass judgement on them could be labeled a modern day mocking bird. Think about how many famous people we pretend to "know" based on the stories others provide to us--we don't truly "know" the person unless we are intimates of theirs and actually interact with the person. Britney Spears, Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin,.....All of these people are regularly in the news as judgement is passed on their intelligence, ability to parent, succes or failures in their love life, their family life...and we are really only seeing the People or Newsweek reporters' guesses, not actually what the inner workings of the person in question's life events signify.

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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Boo Radley is an innocent man who has been wronged by his dad and received a bad image in society. He stays indoors because he does not want to go out in the world. When Scout and Jem were younger, he was viewed as a myth. However, as they grew older they started to understand why he might stay inside. He is just a man wronged by the stereotypical views of society. 

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lookingtrue | eNotes Newbie

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I think Whitney Houston would be a modern Boo Radley.  It was those around her and their lack of support that created this drug-ravaged persona.  As Atticus said, "It is a sin to kill a mockingbird", because they just make beautiful music.  She might not have been murdered, but like Boo, she was killed by society and its judgments.

She was killed by her own choices ie to get involved in drugs.

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charlierocks14 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

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A mockingbird is used in this book as a symbol of innocence.  Boo Radley has not harmed anyone since he stabbed his father 25 years before the story starts.  Many in Maycomb think that he has not changed his ways and that he is still the same mean old Arthur Radley.  The truth is, he has changed, though no one knows it.  He is referred to as a mockingbird because he suffers without cause at the hands of the townspeople.  In a similar way, the conviction of Tom Robinson makes him a mockingbird because he never did anything to hurt anyone, yet he is still blamed and indirectly killed because he was blamed for someone else's guilt.

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jeanie23 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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I think those celebrities are modern examples of Boo Radley. Bad rumors about them spread so easily online, and they are mockingbirds who are being killed. They do nothing but entertain us, just like Miss Maudie explained to Scout.

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dancer4life15 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

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Boo is considered a mockingbird because he does nothing bad yet the town of Maycomb perceives him to be a villain, someone who dines on raw squirrels, has blood stained hands and a long jagged scar.  When in reality he is a quite shy man who just wants to be left alone.

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jmqualls | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

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I think Whitney Houston would be a modern Boo Radley.  It was those around her and their lack of support that created this drug-ravaged persona.  As Atticus said, "It is a sin to kill a mockingbird", because they just make beautiful music.  She might not have been murdered, but like Boo, she was killed by society and its judgments.

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wolfpac | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

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Boo Radley in "To Kill a Mockingbird" is like a mockingbird because all he was in the book was stuck in the house. An the fittful night that Scout and Jem needed help because of Bob Ewells attack. All he did was help them out. When Atticus and Heck Tate found Bob they decided to say that he had fallen on his knife because he was so drunk. So the way that Boo helped Scout and Jem out of the Clutches of bob was the reason why boo is compared to a mockingbird

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tashfonseca | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

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Boo Radley is an innocent man who was wrongly incarcerated by his father after a childish prank. He is referred to as a mockingbird because of his innocence. This can be seen when he leaves gifts for Jem and Scout. It's the only form of contact he has with the outside world. Boo (Arthur Radley) is actually a very shy character who is often misjudged by society including Jem and Scout. As the story goes on, we find Scout beginning to realise Boo's situation when she tells Atticus that exposing Boo would be "sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?"

Imprisoning Boo also meant imprisoning his innocence and therefore this is why killing a mockingbird is so sinful.

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jojogirl101 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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Boo Radley is a mocking bird in the sense that he in the end was different in what people said about him. He was a gentlemen and if Heck Tate and Atticus told the town about his heroism saving Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell the church ladies would flood him with cakes and things but, Boo wasnt kept inside he chose to stay there. The town was judgemental to anyone who was different and they placed them outside of the caring and 'love' they provided to the people who followed the age old rules. He was innocent from everything people said about him and still like a mockingbird he was talked about or shot (the mockingbird being shot not Boo)

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forevercatholic | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 2) eNoter

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You knw why Boo Radley is called The Mockingbird.Remember in chapter 4, Boo Radley put gums and two pieces of indian head coins in the oak tree and when Scout and Jem saw it Boo Radley is laughing as if he was mocking Scout and Jem. Thats one of my reasons why he is called "The Mockingbird".