Boo Radley is the ghoulish mystery man who unites the three children in friendship and mischief in Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Initially, the three kids merely think of Boo as the neighborhood phantom, a never-seen enigma who they hope to lure out into the open for a peek. But Atticus's persistent warnings to "stop tormenting that man" finally make some headway.
Each of the children eventually discover that Boo is more than an unseen spirit. When the kids are shot at by Mr. Radley and Jem loses his pants, Jem returns with a shocking surprise: Someone has mended them and left them hanging on the fence for him to find. Jem finally comes to understand that it is Boo who has undertaken this kindness and kept him from more trouble with Atticus.
On the night of the great fire, Atticus sends the children to stand near the Radley Place and away from danger. Scout later discovers that she has been covered with a blanket.
"... Someday, maybe, Scout can thank him for covering her up."
"Thank who?" I asked.
"Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn't know it when he put the blanket on you."
My stomach turned to water and I nearly threw up...
Dill even discovers a common personal link with Boo, for they both have been abandoned by their fathers. When Scout asks Dill why he thinks Boo has never run away like Dill, he wisely answers that
"Maybe he doesn't have anywhere to run off to..."
After Boo comes to Jem and Scout's rescue when they are attacked by Bob Ewell, Scout discovers that Boo has gone from a scary object of ridicule to her newest hero. Although he is as pale as the children had imagined, he is also gentle and kind. And when she walks Boo back to his house and turns to observe the neighborhood from his porch, she discovers a whole new view of her world.