In To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Boo/Arthur Radley stay in his house for all those years?  I need three quotes.

Expert Answers
kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Boo Radley is demonized at the beginning of the novel. Scout merely exaggerates the town feelings towards him. With the following reputation, it is unlikely anyone would want to move around in society:

 Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that's why his hands were bloodstained -- if you ate an animal raw, you could never wash the blood off. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten. His eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time.

We are told that Boo had had a wayward youth, and that his religious father had confined him to the house. Jem realises later in the novel that Boo’s confinement may be voluntary; that he simply does not want to be part of the unjust society that the children are just learning about:

I think I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time. It’s because he wants to stay inside.

Scout realised that the society of Maycomb was not a welcoming place for those ‘mockingbirds’ like Boo and Tom Robinson. She realised that there are some who do good who are never repaid:

Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch chain, a pair of good luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.

kateconchetta | Student

mrs. kiwi what chapters were these quotes from?

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question