What was Boo Radley's criminal record?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter one, Scout elaborates on Boo Radley's background and recalls the information Jem told her regarding Boo's run-ins with the law. When Boo Radley was a teenager, he began hanging out with the unruly Cunningham boys from Old Sarum. One night, the boys backed around the square in a cheap car, resisted arrested, and locked Mr. Conner in the courthouse outhouse. Boo Radley and the Cunningham boys stood before the probate judge and were charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, assault and battery, and using abusive and profane language in the presence and hearing of a female. The judge decided to send the boys to the state industrial school. However, Mr. Radley thought the school was a disgrace and promised the judge that Boo would cause no further trouble if he was allowed to go home. From that moment on, Boo was not seen for fifteen years.

Miss Stephanie Crawford also told Jem that when Boo Radley was thirty-three years old, he stabbed his father in the leg with a pair of scissors while he was cutting some items from The Maycomb Tribune to paste in his scrapbook. Mrs. Radley ran out into the middle of the road screaming that Boo was trying to kill her husband, but the sheriff found Boo peacefully cutting out pictures when he arrived at the scene. Initially, the authorities were going to send Boo to an asylum but decided to lock him in the courthouse basement instead of placing him in jail alongside the Negroes. Eventually, the police allowed Mr. Radley to take Boo back home, where he remained secluded indoors.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial