What are some of the stories about Arthur (Boo) Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the opening chapter of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, the first story we are told about Arthur (Boo) Radley is that, when he was 18 years old, he started spending time with a bunch of trouble-making boys. One night, they stole a cheap vehicle, were arrested, and were convicted upon "charges of disorderly conduct disturbing the peace, assault and battery, and using abusive and profane language in the presence and hearing of a female" (Chapter 1). All the boys except Arthur were sent to the industrial school, where they received high-quality educations. Mr. Radley felt it best to keep Arthur under his own care and received permission from the judge to keep him under house arrest.

The second story we learn in the first chapter is that, after 15 years of house arrest, at the age of 33, Arthur was apparently driven insane enough to drive a pair of scissors into his father's leg as Mr. Radley passed by Arthur while Arthur was working on his scrapbook. According to Miss Stephanie Crawford's rumors, Mr. Radley refused to have his son sent to an asylum. He did, however, concede to jail time but without pressing any charges. The "sheriff hadn't the heart to put him in the jail alongside Negroes, so Boo was locked in the courthouse basement" until the town council insisted Arthur be taken under Mr. Radley's care again (Chapter 1).

Other stories we learn about Arthur are myths about his sneaking out at night, watching Miss Stephanie through her bedroom window in the middle of the night, and poisoning the pecans that fell onto his lawn.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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