Are there any quotes that show evidence in Jem and Scout's loss of interest in the Radleys in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, we can assume that Scout turns a big corner in becoming more mature regarding Boo Radley. Throughout the story, I feel she is more curious about the person of Boo, while the boys are more fascinated with the gross and scary rumors about Boo. Like kids who show off nasty scraped knees, the boys are fascinated by descriptions of Boo's "sharpened teeth," and his tendency to eat wild things like squirrels.

Scout's experience with Boo, while Jem lies unconscious in his bedroom, shows that she sees herself more as a young lady, and she acts this way with Boo as she walks him home.

I slipped my hand into the crook of his arm.

He had to stoop a little to accommodate me, but if Miss Stephanie Crawford was watching from her upstairs window, she would see Arthur Radley escorting me down the sidewalk, as any gentleman would do.

This passage indicates a change in Scout. She is not afraid of Boo, and now that she has seen him, she can relax and treat him as a guest—as Aunt Alexandra would have her do. She will share this impression of this time with Boo, with Jem when he wakes in the morning. That would have an effect on Jem. However, so much has happened on this night: the attempted murder of the children by Bob Ewell, Ewell's death, and Boo's triumph is saving "his" children, that I cannot help but feel they will have changed a great deal. Their fascination for Boo Radley may not be as strong after coming so close to death.

We learn, too, in the last chapter, that Scout never sees Boo again. It does not explain why. And for the sake of the plot, Boo was there, heroic in his efforts, when they most needed him, but his life will obviously return to "normal," which Heck Tate suggests would be easier for a man like Boo.

There is a certain irony at the end where Scout shows more maturity with regard to Boo and social niceties. She notes that:

Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.

Scout demonstrates a sense of indebtedness in that she and Jem had taken from Boo and never paid him back. It is very mature of her to think of being neighborly, especially at her young age, and with Boo—not their most sophisticated neighbor, though she doesn't see this.

The irony is that they did give Boo things in return. He watched and laughed as Scout's rolling tire bounced off the side of the Radley house; he was aware of them as they crept onto the porch; he was probably entertained as he watched them play; and, they allowed him—for a short time—to escape the prison in which his family had placed him, not just to share gifts with them, but to save them.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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