What is the significance behind the names of "Scout" and "Boo" in To Kill a Mockingbird, and what do these names imply?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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I don't believe Harper Lee ever explains the origin of Scout's nickname, nor does Scout's narrative reveal any clues. Born as Jean Louise Finch, father Atticus must have recognized early his daughter's innate sense of exploration and curiosity. The nickname "Scout" implies that she is someone who both observes and collects information, and she lives up to her name as a child when she joins Jem and Dill on their attempts to spy on Boo Radley; and as an adult narrator when she chronicles the events of the story. As for Boo's nickname, Arthur Radley Jr. is a "malevolent phantom" and a "ghoul": Never seen but undoubtedly alive (since no one has "seen him carried out yet"), he is like a ghost who only comes out in the dark of the night when he is less likely to be seen. Feared because of the rumors that abound about the carnage he creates on wild animals and pets, the ethereal nickname of "Boo" seems most appropriate.

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mynameismiah | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Thank you so much! This really helped. I had the same ideas, I just couldn't really condense it the way you did. Thanks again!

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