How does Miss Maudie account for Boo's strangeness in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One day, Scout asks Miss Maudie if Boo Radley is still alive. Miss Maudie tells her that he is. Scout wants to know how Miss Maudie can be so sure. Miss Maudie informs Scout that she has yet to see Boo's dead body removed from the house. Scout wonders why Boo is never seen anywhere if he is alive. She thinks he would want to go outside sometimes. Miss Maudie shares her opinion on the matter:

"Arthur Radley just stays in the house, that's all," said Miss Maudie. "Wouldn't you stay in the house if you didn't want to come out?" (Chapter 5).

Scout finds this idea hard to believe. She asks if Boo is crazy. Miss Maudie explains her thoughts on the matter.

"If he's not he should be by now. The things that happen to people we never really know. What happens in houses behind closed doors, what secrets—"

Miss Maudie thinks Boo behaves strangely because of being cooped up in the house with his strict father for many years. Mr. Radley was a Baptist, and he thought that many things were sinful. She thinks that there is more to the story than they know, which is why Boo is made to seem crazy.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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