In To Kill a Mockingbird, what are some quotes to show Scout's treatment of Boo in the latter stages of the book? How does she begin to view things from his perspective?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout comes to empathize with Boo and look at things from his perspective.

Scout is afraid of Boo Radley at first.  It makes sense.  He is the neighborhood monster.  Since Boo is a recluse who never comes out of his house, the children of the town like to tell stories about him.  There are even adults who make up things about him.  Atticus tries to teach his children to be respectful of Boo Radley.

When Miss Maudie’s house catches fire, Scout finds a blanket on her shoulders and she does not know where it came from.  Jem and her father quickly come to the conclusion that Boo is the one who put it there.

My stomach turned to water and I nearly threw up when Jem held out the blanket and crept toward me. “He sneaked out of the house—turn ‘round—sneaked up, an’ went like this!” (Ch. 8)

Scout is learning to put herself in others’ places.  Empathy is a very adult concept, and a difficult one for Scout.  Jem is already capable of understanding that Boo Radley is just a shy man who is afraid to leave the house.

As she entered second grade, “tormenting Boo Radley became passe” (Ch. 11).  The trial becomes the focus of her life that summer, and Boo takes a backseat.  After the trial concludes, however, Boo comes into her life again.  Scout thinks of him as a person and not a monster, and like Dill she feels sorry for him and wishes she could get to know him.

I imagined how it would be: when it happened, he’d just be sitting in the swing when I came along. “Hidy do, Mr. Arthur,” I would say, as if I had said it every afternoon of my life. “Evening, Jean Louise,” he would say, as if he had said it every afternoon of my life … (Ch. 26)

Scout is coming home from a Halloween pageant when she gets attacked by Bob Ewell.  Her brother’s arm is broken, but she is fine.  The reason they survived is because Boo Radley saved them, killing Ewell in the process. Scout gets to see Boo Radley in person for the first time.  He is pale and shy, just as she pictured. 

A strange small spasm shook him, as if he heard fingernails scrape slate, but as I gazed at him in wonder the tension slowly drained from his face. His lips parted into a timid smile, and our neighbor’s image blurred with my sudden tears.

“Hey, Boo,” I said. (Ch. 29)

She walks him home, and stands on his porch. On the Radley porch, Scout relives the events of her life from Boo’s perspective.  She realizes that Boo is just like everyone else, but sadder and lonelier.  Standing on the porch, Scout demonstrates empathy for Boo Radley and proves that she has really grown up.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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