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To Kill a Mockingbird. In this essay, one will analyse the character of Arthur Radley (Boo) and discuss how he is displayed to the audience.

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Introduction

Set in the 1940's, Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" features a man named Arthur Radley, though the people of Maycomb know him as Boo. He is portrayed as a "malevolent phantom", hence his nickname, that eats cats and is over seven feet tall. He is also described as the "town recluse and madman" which is predominantly down to rumours and distortion of truth from Maycombers. Through the use Scout's narration, one ascertains that as a teenager, Boo entangled himself with the "wrong crowd of people". The group was also described to be "the closest thing to a gang that Maycomb had seen" as they had stolen the sheriff's car. This crime led Boo to being sentenced to go to a reformatory school. However, Mr. Radley, Boo's father, convinced the judge to let him keep his son in the house instead, for it would be a disgrace to send him to the reformatory school. He was not seen, or heard of for fifteen years when he allegedly plunged a pair of scissors into his fathers legs. Arthur's actions are far removed from the children of Maycombs understanding; they simply believe that he is a freak of nature due to their naivety towards the adult world. ...read more.

Middle

At first, Jem is afraid of Boo like many others in Maycomb, describing him to be a "monster" and "squirrel eater". This demonstrates to the reader the prejudice circulating around Boo but due to the unreliable narration, the reader can determine that these descriptions are nothing but images synthesised by a child's imagination which is fuelled by the romours created by Maycombs citizens. This gives the reader a sense of condolence towards Boo. In addition, it is evident that Jem is fervidly curious about Boo in the sense that he is trying to lure him out of his house via leaving notes to him, trying to look through the window and his tyre game. This establishes to the reader just how little is known about Arthur (as Jem is attempting to dig up information on him) and how people see him as an commodity to entertain rather than a human being. This style of writing keeps the reader very curious about Boo as he is the centre of attention for the main characters. As the novel progresses, Jem's changing attitude towards Boo Radley is a vital measurement of his development from innocence towards a grown-up moral perspective. ...read more.

Conclusion

Avery. Furthermore, Boo doesn't make his carvings for himself; rather, he offers them as presents. Jem and Scout, on the other hand, make the snowman purely for their own enjoyment. This shows that Boo interacts with others on their terms showing how kind and sociable he is to some respects. Lee uses an elliptical technique in telling Boo's story; she hints and implies at what is happening without ever showing the reader directly (dual perspective) showing just how misunderstood Arthur is. In conclusion, the reader is given a mixed image of Arthur Radley in the first 9 chapters of the novel. The first image of Arthur is mainly composed of imprudent defamation by Maycombers and the horror-fuelled imagination's of Scout, Jem and Dill. This side of Boo describes him to be an evil man who has no other intention but to prey on the week in the early our of the morning. On the other hand, through the characters of Atticus and Miss Maudie, we see that Boo is the victim of severe parenting and neglect and is not a monster but a "gentle and kind young man". The reader also begins to see in these chapters that, Boo is the ultimate symbol of innocence (a mocking bird). ...read more.

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