Chapter 1 establishes mystery and intrigue - and
foreshadowing - through the development of the Radley
The reader finds out that Boo has been kept inside his home for
years, and according to local gossip he stabbed his father in the
leg with a pair of scissors. The Finch children and their friends
begin to think of Boo as a ghost and try to outdo each other's
attempts to draw him outside so that they can see him.
In Chapter 1 Atticus teaches two lessons. First, he tells
the children to mind their “own business and let the Radleys mind
theirs, they had a right too. . . .” His second lesson to the
children is that there are many ways “of making people into
ghosts.” The children, however, do not immediately understand.
Scout states that Jem passed the Radley Place “always running”
and that, “A Negro would not pass the Radley Place at night. . . .”
Dill’s aunt locks up tight at night because of her fear of Arthur.
Dill dares Jem to touch the house and contrasts the bravery of the
folks in Meridian with the cowardliness of the people in
The chapter ends with a sense of foreboding; the last words are
that the Radley “house was still.”