In "To Kill a Mockingbird", why does Boo Radley stay in the house all the time and what is Aunt Alexandra like?

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katemschultz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the beginning of the book, the reader is led to believe that Boo Radley is locked up against his will by his parents because he was a "troubled youth" and now is a crazy adult. As the book progressed, Jem, Scout and Dill come to see Boo differently. When Dill runs away from his mother and new father, he muses that Boo might stay in the house because Boo has nowhere to run to--unlike Dill, who was able to escape his bad situation and run to a place that he found happiness in. Later, after experiencing the trial and not understanding the hypocrisy of the people of his hometown, Jem says he thinks Boo Radley wants to stay inside--and away from the hypocrisy and other prejudices in Maycomb.

Aunt Alexandra is a force to be reckoned with. She arrived at the Finch household to make sure the kids have a proper upbringing while Atticus is preoccupied with the trial. Though Aunt Alexandra tries to tell Atticus how to run his house and raise his children (she even suggests getting rid of Calpurnia) Atticus will stand up to her.

Aunt Alexandra's main concern is that Jem and Scout live up to the Finch name--a family, she claims, that is the product of gentle breeding. She is consistently pestering Scout about wearing a dress and becoming a lady. However, in Chapter 24, she shows a softer side and feels sympathy for all her brother has gone through.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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