In "To Kill a Mockingbird," Boo Radley, who has been a recluse for the last fifteen years, captures the imagination of the children. In Chapter 5, Jem and Dill attempt to send a message to Boo by tying it to a fishing pole, then casting it toward his window. However, Atticus catches them and they are forbidden to go to the Radley place without being invited. But, in Chapter 6, on a dare Jem and Dill decide to peep into the Raley's house window. When a shot rings out, Jem hastens to safety so quickly that he catches his pants upon the fence and must remove them. Later, he bravely returns for his pants, which Boo has mended. This episode alters Jem's perception of Boo Radley as the kindness of the bizarre captive of fifteen years touches Jem.
These episodes further the theme of maturation in Harper Lee's novel. The Radley place affords the children a chance to prove their bravery. And, when Atticus scolds them, they display character by not talking back to him. Also, they begin to become concerned with people's feelings who are outside their immediate circle.