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The homes of the Ewells and Radleys, while tragic and sad in their own way, don't actually bear too much in similarities. Of the Radley home, Scout observes:
The house was low ... long ago darkened to the color of the slate gray yard around it. Rain-rotted shingles drooped over the eaves of the veranda; oak trees kept the sun away. The remains of a picket drunkenly guarded teh front yard ... where johnson grass and rabbit-tobacco grew in abundance.
And of the Ewell home, located behind the town dump:
The cabin's plank walls were supplemented with corrugated iron, it's roof shingled with tin cans hammered flat ... rested uneasily on four irregular lumps of limestone.
Both families, however, are dysfunctional in a way that has more or less destroyed the lives of the children. The absence of a mother figure is one similarity. A cruel father is yet another; Boo Radley's father's cruelty is rooted in religion, while Bob Ewell's is probably at least partly a function of his alcoholism. Both Boo Radley and Mayella Ewell show a glimmer of the person they might have been in different circumstances. A small oasis in the filth of the Ewell home is the lovely row of red geraniums which Mayella cares for diligently. Boo Radley shows a kind and compassionate side when he brings a blanket to Scout the night of Miss Maudie's house fire and when he leaves small gifts for the children in the tree trunk.
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