To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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What are the similarities between Boo Radley and Tom Robinson in Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Both Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are outsiders in Maycomb, albeit for different reasons. Tom, as an African American, occupies a lowly place in Southern society, reinforced by an apparatus of systemic legal and economic oppression. Prejudice determines his fate, finding him guilty of a crime he could not possibly have committed before he has even set foot inside the courtroom. And one of the biggest problems with prejudice is that it's stubbornly resistant to the facts. The prosecution has no case to speak of, and Atticus has all the relevant facts on his side. But so strong, so deeply ingrained is the level of racial prejudice in Maycomb that Tom cannot hope to get a fair trial, despite Atticus's best efforts.

Boo's identity has also been constructed out of prejudice, imposed upon him by the ignorance and lack of understanding of the townsfolk. Years of gossip, hearsay and idle talk has turned Boo into Maycomb's resident boogeyman. The less people know about him, the more they spin ever...

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