What characters face illusion vs. reality in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?
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BOO RADLEY. Boo is believed to be a horrible ghoul who kills and eats raw animals by the moonlight, guilty of "Any stealthy small crimes committed in Maycomb." Jem imagines that Boo is gigantic with scars and bloody hands. But of course Boo is none of these things, but only a shy man who prefers life inside his home to the not-so-safe outside world of Maycomb. Instead of a man to be feared, Boo becomes a hero in the final pages of the novel, a neighbor who has never been paid in full for the gifts he left the children but who showed up "when Boo's children needed him" most.
DOLPHUS RAYMOND. The people of Maycomb believe Dolphus is a mentally unstable drunk since he weaves about the town with a bottle hidden by a paper sack and prefers the company of Negroes to whites. But it is only an act by a man who "deliberately perpetrated fraud against himself." He plays this role because he knows no one will "understand that I live like I do because that's the way I want to live."
TOM ROBINSON. Tom has "broad shoulders and [a] bull-thick neck" when Scout first sees him; it is only when he stands that she sees his crippled arm and "shriveled hand."
"If he had been whole, he would have been a fine specimen of a man." (Chapter 19)
But Tom is not whole, yet the jury cannot see that he is physically incapable of committing the crime of which he is charged. Tom is black--the color of evil--and the truths he tells cannot be believed by the white jury who never accepts the word of a black man over that of a white man.
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