How does Harper Lee present the change in Boo's relationship with the children Dill, Scout and Jem over the course of 'To Kill A Mockingbird'?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, the children develop a relationship with Boo Radley. At first, the children are afraid of Boo Radley. Based on rumors, Boo Radley represents a mentally unstable man. The children have heard stories of Boo using scissors on his father. Jem, Scout and Dill play games based on the fear they have of Boo Radley. They dare one another to touch the porch of Boo Radley's house.

The children role play and act out the actions of the Radleys. One day, Boo Radley leaves gifts for the children in the knothole of a tree. Through this action, Boo seems to be trying to reward the children. The children begin to look forward to the trinkets they are finding in the knothole. Boo's brother puts a stop to the new game the children are enjoying. He fills the knothole so Boo will not interact with the children.

No doubt, Boo is trying to interact with the children. The children begin to think differently about Boo Radley. They begin to see a human being with feelings. During the fire of Miss Maudie's house, Boo wraps Scout in a blanket. He is becoming more like a friend to the children. Boo is more sensitive than everyone once thought:

Despite his history of being abused by his father, Boo is revealed to be a gentle soul through his unseen acts: the gifts he leaves in the tree; his mending of Jem's torn pants; the blanket he puts around Scout the night of the fire; and finally, his rescue of the children from Bob Ewell's murderous attack.

By the end of the story, Boo saves the children's lives. When Ewell attacks the children, Boo stabs and kills Ewell. He rescues the children from a horrible situation. Boo carries Jem home. Truly, Boo Radley has concern for the children. He is a savior. Atticus and the children are forever grateful to Boo for saving the children's lives.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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