What is Scout's perspective on Boo Radley in Chapter Eight of To Kill a Mockingbird?  

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 8, Scout is slightly perplexed but begins to view Boo Radley as a harmless individual. At the beginning of Chapter 7, Jem tells Scout that when he went back to the Radley yard, his pants were folded neatly and hemmed. Scout comments that somebody in the Radley house had to know Jem was coming back to retrieve them. At this moment, she is beginning to wonder if Boo Radley is really as bad as everyone says he is. Later on, Scout and Jem begin to receive gifts from the anonymous Boo Radley in the knothole of the tree in his front yard. Scout mentions that Jem was on the verge of telling her something significant but would change his mind at the last second.

Throughout Chapter 8, Scout and Jem are woken by their father in the middle of the night and watch Miss Maudie's house ablaze from the Radley front yard. The next morning, Atticus notices that Scout has a blanket wrapped around her. When Atticus tells her that she should thank Boo Radley, she nearly throws up. Jem holds out the blanket and tries to impersonate Boo Radley sneaking up on her. Scout first reacts with fear when she finds out Boo was that close to her. After she realizes that the "malevolent phantom" himself tried to comfort her, Scout's perspective of Boo begins to change. Although Harper Lee does not explicitly state her thoughts, I feel that Scout begins to "connect-the-dots," and starts viewing him a friend rather than a monster. Between Boo possibly sewing Jem's pants, giving them gifts, and wrapping her in a blanket, Scout's perspective changes. In addition to the evidence that suggests Boo is a kind individual, Atticus and Maudie's reactions are light and playful, rather than concerned and worried.

litgeek2015 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Her perspective changes from the beginning of the chapter to the end, but only slightly because she is still confused about what to make of the information she has. She has perceived him as a threat, and while she is still spooked by him, she now sees he may not be as scary as she thought.

At the beginning of the chapter we learn that Old Mrs. Radley has died and Scout seems certain that Boo was responsible. She and Jem are disappointed to find out that she actually died of natural causes AND that when Atticus visited the house after her passing, he did not see Boo. This shows that Scout views Boo as a bad guy, a psychopath, and a villain. Or at least she hopes he is for the sake of the stories they have been telling themselves. She is also genuinely a little spooked by the guy.

By the end of the chapter, it is obvious that Boo has snuck out of his house and put a blanket over Scout while she was watching Miss Maudie's house burn. When Atticus tells her it was Boo who wrapped the blanket around her, she felt sick:

"My stomach turned to water and I nearly threw up" (Ch. 8).

She, Jem, and Dill have all been telling stories about how crazy Boo is and up to this point she had no reason to disbelieve them. However, if he really did put the blanket over her, he might not be so scary. She's still nervous, though, about how close he got to her, given what she has felt about him.

 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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