To Kill A Mockingbird Essay: The Truth About Boo Radley

Better Essays
The Truth About Boo Radley in To kill a Mockingbird

First impressions of people are often lasting impressions, especially in the minds of children. Many times these impressions, aided by misunderstanding and prejudgment, cause unjust discrimination against an individual. To kill a Mockingbird depicts the themes of misunderstanding and prejudice that portray Arthur (Boo) Radley as a villain. Through the progressive revelation of Radley's character, the children realize that their negative impressions and fear of him were unfounded. Through gradual stages of change, from total misunderstanding of Boo, to a realization of an error in judgment, to a reevaluation followed by a change of heart, to a growing trust and acceptance of Boo, and finally to an appreciation of his true character, Jem's, Scout's, and Dill's impressions of Radley are dramatically altered.

In the beginning of the novel, many falsehoods by the townspeople portray Boo Radley as a villain. These misleading opinions, very apparent in the adult community, are well illustrated by Miss Stephanie Crawford. She helps skew the children's impressions. Since Atticus, although often interrogated, does not want to create a breach of etiquette, he refuses to speak about the Radleys. Therefore, Jem receives most of his information from Miss Stephanie Crawford, a neighborhood scold, who insists she knows the whole truth about the Radleys. It is from Crawford that the children learn of Radley's scissor attack on his father and other such interesting rumors. Thus, Arthur Radley is labeled as a "hant", a possibly insane and dangerous man, and the "malevolent phantom” (Lee, pg. #). The latter comes from the fact that Radley had not been seen for many years, and was beli...

... middle of paper ...

...ealization for Scout; she acknowledges Radley's good nature and kindness. She realizes that Radley had given them their lives, the most important gift of all. Radley has indeed found a place in the children's hearts, and through his natural goodness he comes out as the true hero of To Kill a Mockingbird.

. Through many fundamental stages in the novel, the character of Boo Radley is slowly unraveled depicting his true self. As negative first impressions undergo a metamorphosis, Radley's character is gradually revealed. This growth and process of change makes the children and the reader realize that prejudgment of a person generally results in a misrepresentation of an individual. Because of this one misstep in the judgment process, many potential heroes could be missing from our lives forever.

Works Cited

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird.
Get Access