What contributes to a change in the way Jem preceives Boo Radley from this initial impression in Chapter 1 to the end of Part One in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem's early impressions of Boo Radley come at a young age--he is nine years old when the story begins--and they are based on town gossip and the stories he has heard from the unreliable Miss Stephanie Crawford. By the end of Part One, Jem is older (he is 12), wiser and has actually experienced some detached contact with the "malevolent phantom" who lives in the Radley House. It is his personal experiences that create the greatest change in his perception of Boo. Beginning with the quiet laughter and fluttering curtains that come from inside the Radley House, Jem comes to learn that Boo is not the bloodthirsty ghoul that Maycomb's rumors suggest. When the presents in the secret knothole of the Radley oak begin to appear, Jem and Scout eventually come to the conclusion that only Boo could have left them. When Jem finds his pants mysteriously mended after tearing and losing them on the Radley fence, it becomes an unspoken fact that Boo must have crudely sewn them. Jem becomes convinced of Boo's kindly ways and his attempts to become the children's friend on the night of Miss Maudie's house fire when Scout's shoulders are warmed by Boo's blanket. Both of the children recognize that Boo is no one to be feared, and Jem decided then that "I ain't gonna do anything to him" ever again. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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