In "To Kill a Mockingbird" what does the blanket in chapter 8 (the one Boo puts around Scout) symbolize?

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Before this point in the story, Boo was known to all of the town, and the neighborhood children, as the "malevolent phantom," a bad character who was responsible for spying in people's windows, harming small animals, and stealing things.  Although none of these things are true of Boo, kids still are afraid of him, and he is a bit of a legend in the town.

As Scout stands outside in the cold, watching Miss Maudie's house burn to the ground, she realizes at some point that she was "clutching a brown woolen blanket" around her shoulders.  She doesn't know where the blanket came from.  It is confirmed by Atticus and Jem that Boo put it there.  She hadn't even noticed.

So, Boo, this supposed evil person, had noticed Scout that Scout was cold, and slipped a blanket around her to keep her warm.  This action symbolizes friendship, kindness, generosity, and, as is a strong theme in this book, how people aren't always what we think they are.  People aren't what they appear to be on the surface, and we shouldn't judge them before we get to know them.  Boo, on the surface a strange social recluse with a reputation for harm, was really a harmless, friendly, kind human being that noticed Scout's need and served her selflessly.  I hope that those thoughts help; good luck!

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