In To Kill a Mockingbird, investigate the personified view of the Radley house in Chapter 1 and later at the end of Chapter 14.

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 1, the Radley house is described in terms appropriate for the home of a "malevolent phantom," which is what the children considered Boo to be at that point. The house is dark and forbidding, the same slate-gray color as the dirt, weed-filled yard in front of it. The shingles are rotting and drooping over the edge of the roof; the picket fence is broken with some parts of it missing altogether. Large oak trees provide perpetual shade, with no sunlight reaching the house. The Radley place looks like a frightening haunted house, which is how the children see it at the time when Boo is a stranger to them.

In Chapter 14, however, Scout's description of the same house is brief but significantly different. Just as she drifts off to sleep, Scout sees a vision of the Radley house in her mind:

. . . there rose the faded image of a gray house with sad brown doors.

Gone from Scout's description of Boo's house is any sense of foreboding. Instead, there is only a feeling of sadness. Since the summer when Dill arrived and the children first became obsessed with Boo and his many horrors, Scout has grown up considerably. Through some of the events that have occurred since then, Scout now is beginning to understand Boo's real nature and the tragedy of his life.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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