To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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What is the relationship between Boo Radley and the children in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Hollis Sanders eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The first portion of the book revolves largely around the mythologization of Boo Radley as a figure akin to a ghost or a monster. Everyone around the town, particularly children, seem to have varying degrees of "tall tales" about Boo, and these reports range from acts of squirrel-eating to full-blown matricide. Scout and Jem, in particular, are only made to feel ashamed for perpetuating such rumors by Atticus , who finds the gossiping about the man to be very unseemly. Nevertheless, the children remain fascinated with the Radley house, playing near it, making up stories, and even daring each other to...

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zumba96 | Student

At first the children viewed him as a myth and was not sure he even existed. They ended up going to his house and playing near it to see how close they could get to the house. However, Boo soon started leaving gifts in the tree in order to start communicating with them. In the end Boo was the reason their lives were saved. 

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parker6307 | Student

Throughout the book, they have no real relationship becuase they've never met. However they have been brought up with stories of Boo Radley, who is compared to a monster. By the end of the novel, they meet Boo and he is almost child-like in his mind due to lack of human contact, this may make him closer to the children as he has a similar mental capacity.

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sahrawagwon1212 | Student

     The relationship between Boo and the children change through the course of the novel. At first, the kids both think that Boo is a terrible monster and prisoner inside his own home. As Boo begins to leave gifts in the knot hole for them and when he puts a blanket around Scout during the fire at Miss Maudie's house, the realize that maybe he isn't so bad. Boo wants to be a human of fascination for them during Tom's trial. It’s said,“Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time... it's because he wants to stay inside." (23.117) Seeing the prejudice that Tom suffered makes the kids understand why Boo decided to stay in his house. The kids come to see Boo as a real person when he saves them from Bob Ewell, and not the monster he was once portrayed, “. Scout then treats him as she would any neighbor like Atticus, “…One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them” (31.25-31). She understands now that Boo had been watching her and Jem the whole time, and that he was a true neighbor and was watching over them when they needed him. Though she never sees Boo again after that night, she still thinks of him fondly, as we can tell by her older self's voice in this story. In this, the children’s maturity level has definitely developed and it is evident in their relationship. It might have been a slow sign of maturity growth in this particular situation, but it developed through the nice things Boo had done for them to sow him respect and to be thankful even though its was the first time they’ve met. Many people think that if Boo did wrong than he deserved self-imprisonment, but even when falsely accused and bullied around you need to have determination in helping others.

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