What impression is given of Boo Radley from what Scout tells us of his activities as a boy in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem and Scout both envisioned Boo as a bloodthirsty "ghoul" as an adult, but they had also heard the story of how Arthur Jr. first got into trouble as a teenager. He had seemed to be perfectly normal young man before he started hanging out with the Cunningham boys from Old Sarum. It was only after Boo's father had exiled him to life within the walls of the Radley house following Boo's arrest that Arthur Jr. began to show signs of mental instability and a penchant for nocturnal mischief. Miss Maudie told the children that

"He always spoke nicely to me no matter what folks said he did. Spoke as nicely as he knew how."  (Miss Maudie, Chapter 5)

Miss Maudie's word went a long way, and Scout came to realize that Boo's descent from normalcy was a direct result of Old Mr. Radley's ultra-conservative, "foot-washing Baptist" religious practices; and, as Atticus had told her, the unusual punishment handed down by father to son. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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