In Chapter One of Harper Lee's classic of American literature, To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout, Jem and their friend Dill are talking about the myriad characters and legends of their small community. Naturally, the topic of the mysterious figure of Boo Radley occupies much of the discussion. It is in this context that Jem relates the story he has heard about Stephanie Crawford, "the neighborhood scold," who has spread a rumor to the effect that Boo Radley had once stabbed his father in the leg with a pair of scissors. As the narrative continues, it is obvious that Stephanie Crawford is the main source of unfounded rumors regarding the Radley family, including the accusation that Boo had peered into her bedroom one night:
"Miss Stephanie Crawford said she woke up in the middle of the night one time and saw him looking straight through the window at her. . .said his head was like a skull looking at her."
The "incident," then, is related in Chapter One, and it occurs in the context of the children's discussing the never-seen, mysterious, and possibly threatening figure of Boo Radley. As readers of Lee's novel discover, Boo Radley emerges as considerably less menacing than the early speculation suggests. Readers also discover that, as with the stories surrounding Boo, the community's citizens are not above judging others on the basis of incorrect or misleading information.