In To Kill a Mockingbird I'm intrigued by Lee's reference to the Grey Ghost novel that is promised by Dill if Jem touches the Radley house. It is later referenced when Scout sees Mrs Maudie's house...

In To Kill a Mockingbird I'm intrigued by Lee's reference to the Grey Ghost novel that is promised by Dill if Jem touches the Radley house. It is later referenced when Scout sees Mrs Maudie's house burn and is finally read to Scout at the end of the novel. What significance does this hold/ what meaning is this conveying?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Using The Gray Ghost is quite significant. In Chapter 1, Dill bets Jem The Gray Ghost that he won't go up and knock on the Radley's door. The term "ghost" is fitting because the children talk of Boo Radley as if he is a monster or a ghost. The word "Boo" itself is the typical/comical call of a ghost trying to scare someone. 

What makes the book even more significant in terms of the novel is that the main character in The Gray Ghost is wrongly accused of something and is found to be innocent in the end. This parallels Tom Robinson's fate: he is also wrongly accused, although his innocence is only known or accepted by Atticus, the children and other open-minded thinkers. Boo is also wrongfully painted as a monster/ghost. 

The novel ends with Scout summing up the story (Ghost) for Atticus, but she could also be referring to Tom Robinson or Boo Radley; like the main character in Ghost, both Tom and Boo were misunderstood and it turns out they were both innocent. Scout says: 

“An‘ they chased him ’n‘ never could catch him ’cause they didn’t know what he looked like, an‘ Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things… Atticus, he was real nice…” 

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