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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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In the movie To Kill a Mockingbird, how does the plot develop so that the children eventually change their perception of Boo Radley?

The movie To Kill a Mockingbird changes the perception of Boo Radley from a curiosity and freak to a savior.

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In the movie, Scout, Jem, and Dill at first view Boo Radley as a curiosity, even a freak, and are interested only at getting a peek of him. At the same time, the children are also afraid of Boo, mainly because they were told he tried to murder...

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his parents with a knife. These perceptions are best illustrated in the scene where the children sneak into the Radley's yard through the garden to spy on Boo and then flee in terror, with Jem actually losing his pants on the wire fence when they think Boo is about to get them.

As the movie moves through the plot line of Tom Robinson's trial the children lose interest in Boo as they focus on Atticus' defense of Robinson and the actions of some of the town's residents. Despite the fact that he is innocent, Robinson is eventually found guilty of rape and is killed by the sheriff's deputy while trying to escape. Life then returns to normal in Maycomb and Dill returns home.

By the movie's climax Boo becomes something entirely different in the eyes of Scout. Boo becomes their savior when he rescues Scout and Jem from the clutches of Bob Ewell. As the grownup Scout narrates in the movie, "He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a knife, and our lives." Interestingly, Jem's perception may not have changed, at least not by the movie's end, as he was knocked out by Bob Ewell and does not yet realize he and Scout were saved by Boo.

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At the beginning of the film To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout, Jem, and Dill view their neighbor, Boo Radley, with fear and suspicion.  They had heard many rumors about Boo, like that he stays chained to his bed most of the time and that he only comes out at night.  They believe that Boo is over six feet tall, eats animals raw, and has a large scar on his face.  Dill's aunt tells a story of when Boo stabbed his father in the leg with a pair of scissors.  She feeds the children's fear of Boo.  

Later, the children find gifts in the knot hole of an old tree.  They find two carved figurines that resemble themselves.  Jem confesses to Scout that he has been finding gifts in the knot hole for awhile.  He shows her the gifts and they realize that the gifts are from Boo.  Jem also tells her that the night his pants got stuck on the fence, someone folded them and set them out for him.  This is a turning point in the plot as their opinion on Boo shifts.  They start to view him more as a mysterious friend and a person who is probably lonely.  

Near the end, Jem and Scout are walking home together through the woods at night.  Bob Ewell attacks them, but Boo Radley appears and kills him.  Boo carries an injured Jem home.  Scout notices Boo at the house and takes his hand.  They realize that Boo is a true friend.

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