Why does Atticus visit the Radley house?
In Chapter Eight, Atticus visits the Radley house to offer his condolences to the Radley family after Mrs. Radley passes away.
Although Jem and Scout both think that Mrs. Radley died at the hands of Boo Radley, Atticus dispossesses them of this entertaining theory. He tells the children that Mrs. Radley died of natural causes. When she was alive, Mrs. Radley seldom appeared in public; she was only seen when she came out to water her flowers.
Despite Atticus' words, Jem and Scout are still curious about a particular member of the Radley family. They proceed to ask their father the one question that is uppermost in their minds: Did Atticus see Boo Radley when he went to pay his respects at the Radley home? Atticus answers in the negative, however, and this disappoints the siblings.
Although Scout is tempted to ask Atticus to clarify his statement, Jem discourages her from doing so. He thinks that it's wise not to antagonize their father. After all, Atticus may possibly suspect that they weren't actually playing strip poker near Miss Rachel's fish-pool on that fateful night Mr. Radley shot off his gun in his collard patch. Jem doesn't want Atticus to discover that he, Dill, and Scout were on the Radley property trying to get a glimpse of Boo that night.