What facts are revealed about the Radleys in Chapter 1 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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hgarey71 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter one of Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird reveals many facts about the Radley family and their home. 

The Radleys kept to themselves and did not socialize with the residents of Maycomb. They lived in a rundown house on the same street as the Finches. The family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Radley and their two sons, Arthur, also known as Boo, and the older son, Nathan, who lived in Pensacola, Florida as an adult. It takes a close reading to separate the urban legends and superstitious tales from the facts about the Radleys. For this post, I will stick to information that could have been verified through official documents, records, or eyewitness accounts.

Arthur was one of the several boys brought before a probate judge on the charges of disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, assault and battery, and using profane language in front of a lady. The boys were sentenced to attend an industrial school, but Mr. Radley gave the judge his word that Arthur would cause no further trouble, so he was released to him. Townspeople did not see Arthur outside of the Radley home for many years. Later, there was an incident where Mr. Radley was reportedly stabbed in the leg with a pair of scissors. Boo was reported as dangerous and locked up in the courthouse basement for a time. When Mr. Radley died, Nathan Radley returned to Maycomb, Alabama to care for Boo.

djbutler241 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 1 of To Kill a Mockingbird, the reader learns about Boo Radley and his family. The rundown Radley Place is on the same street where Jem and Scout live. No one has seen Boo Radley outside in many years. The reader learns, through Scout's recollections, that Boo got in trouble with the law as a child and his father imprisoned him inside of the house as a punishment. After that, Boo was not heard from for many years, but fifteen years later, he stabbed his father with a pair of scissors. The people of the town of Maycomb firmly believe that Boo is insane, but his father did not want to press charges against Boo because he did not want him to be sent to an asylum. After Mr. Radley died, Boo's brother Nathan came to live in the house with him. Despite this, Boo remains inside of the house. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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