Does Miss Maudie believe the rumors about Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Five, Scout sits on the porch with Miss Maudie and brings up Boo Radley. Scout asks Miss Maudie if Boo Radley is still alive, and Miss Maudie says that she believes he is still living because she has not seen him "carried out yet." When Scout mentions that Boo Radley may have been stuffed up his chimney, Miss Maudie dismisses Jem's rumor as ludicrous. Miss Maudie then admits that she doesn't know why Boo Radley stays inside his house but assumes that his father has something to do with Boo's reclusive nature. Unlike the neighborhood scold, Miss Stephanie Crawford, Maudie does not subscribe to the rumors surrounding Boo Radley. Maudie even tells Scout that the rumors surrounding Boo are "three-fourths colored folks and one-fourth Stephanie Crawford." In other words, most of what is said about Boo Radley is simply false. Maudie realizes that Boo is not malevolent because he was always polite towards her as a child. However, Miss Maudie does admit that she does not know what happens behind the closed doors of the Radley house. 

teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Maudie doesn't believe the rumors about Boo Radley at all.

In Chapter Five, Scout enters into a discussion about Boo Radley with Miss Maudie. In the middle of the conversation, Scout pointedly asks if Miss Maudie believes everything people say about Boo.

Miss Maudie believes all the stories about Boo were made up by Miss Stephanie Crawford and members of the black community in Maycomb. She recalls that Boo was always respectful and courteous to her when he was a boy. No matter what anyone said about him, Miss Maudie contends he always "spoke as nicely as he knew how."

When Scout asks Miss Maudie whether she thinks Boo is "crazy," Miss Maudie maintains that Boo isn't. Miss Maudie asserts that Boo has had a hard life; her comments hint at the fact that Boo's family life has been rather dysfunctional. She tells Scout she believes Boo lives in a "sad house" and that no one really knows "what happens in houses behind closed doors."

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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