Who is Boo Radley to Scout and Jem? How do the children and the community shape his identity for him?

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To a large extent Boo's character has been defined by the townsfolk. He has become a figure of legend, almost a mythical creature, his life story overlaid with gossip, hearsay, and unreliable anecdotes. As a result, no one knows the real Boo; all people know instead is a grotesque caricature, a boogeyman that parents warn their children to avoid.

But Scout and Jem don't avoid him. At first, they're as fascinated with the legend of Boo Radley as much as anyone. And of course they've heard all the scary stories about him, and so keep a respectful distance. But in time they come to know him as well as it is possible for anyone to know such a strange, mysterious person. It's not surprising that the Finch children come to feel this way, as Atticus has taught them well the importance of placing yourself in someone else's shoes.

For his part, Boo senses that Scout and Jem are different from other folk in Maycomb. This is why he tries to reach out to them, leaving personal items for...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 512 words.)

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