In To Kill a Mockingbird

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee tells a story of Scout Finch and her older brother, Jem, in the 1930’s Alabama. In the beginning Scout, starts out as a very undeveloped child not knowing the prejudice times nearby, as the story progress she gains awareness of these times. Arthur “Boo” Radley remains an outsider who never sets foot outside his house. However he stands for a powerful symbol of goodness and innocence, leaving little presents for Scout and Jem in the knothole and saving the children at a well-timed moment. He represents the main “mockingbird” in the novel, a moral person damaged by the evil of society. Throughout the novel many would argue that Tom Robinson stands for the mockingbird throughout the story, but Boo Radley remains the true mockingbird because he helps Jem and Scout and later save their lives, additionally Heck Tate does not expose him as a hero which would equal “killing a mockingbird.”

Boo Radley, a mockingbird representing innocence, and no harm to anyone or anything. “Inside the house lived a malevolent phantom. People said he existed, but Jem and I had never seen him. People said he went out at night when the moon was down, and peeped in windows” (9) This quote by Scout shows that since Boo Radley remains isolated and stays in the house away from the people in Maycomb, people just starts conversations and gossiping about Boo Radley even if they don’t know for sure what really occurred or even seen him. Since Boo Radley is isolating himself from society the community would always gossip about him, which gives him a bad reputation. So Boo Radley will end up not having any friends and he’ll continue isolating himself from society, but all this gossiping does not show the true Boo Radley. Even though no one knows him, as the story progresses we see that Boo turns out very kind and caring. “Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shoot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (90) Atticus said this to Jem for this reason: Mockingbirds only sing and make nice music for the humans and it would not be fair for Jem to shoot them for pleasure. This can connect with Boo Radley and compare to the mockingbird because he doesn’t do anything to harm but instead do nothing my good. Boo Radley represents the mockingbird in the sorry since he does nothing but good for the community and does not harm anyone or anything.

Boo remains an important character that symbolizes the good that exists inside people. Regardless of the pain that Boo went through, he still does many nice things for the kids. “Two live oaks stood at the end of the Radley lot; their roots reached into the side-road and made it bumpy. Something about one of the trees attracted my attention. Tin-foil was sticking out of a knot-hole just above my eye level, winking at me in the afternoon sun. I stood on my tiptoe, hastily looked around once more, reached into the hole, and withdrew two pieces of chewing gum minus their outer wrappers.”(33) One of the first signs that Boo Radley wishes to be kind toward the children and has seen their attention in him by his knothole gifts. By leaving little presents, harmless and caring gifts for them, it turn out to be clear that Boo shows a good person within him, which changes noticeably from Scout and Jem’s original feelings about him. Scout does not realize that the gifts may be a gift from Boo, though Jem grows suspicious. Later on, Scout understands.Near the beginning of the story, the Finch kids finds two sticks of gum, two scrubbed and polished Indian Head pennies, soap figures representing Jem and Scout, a full pack of gum, and a pocket watch from time to time in the knothole. “Jem and I were trotting in our orbit mild October afternoon when our knot hole stopped us again. Something white was inside this time. Jem let me do the honors: I pulled out two small images carved in soap. One figure was a boy the other wore a crude dress”(67) This quote shows importance because Jem and Scout received many things from the knothole and this time finding two image carvings in soap, which looks exactly like them. This shows that all of the gifts that they found in the knothole meant for them to keep, but they still didn’t know who it came from. Jem and Scout don’t know that all the gifts that they found in the knothole came from Boo Radley. Since Boo Radley isolates himself from the community, hiding gifts in the knothole shows his kindheartedness to Jem and Scout. Boo Radley remains an important character that symbolizes the good that exists inside people preforming good deeds.

No one ever looks at Arthur “Boo” Radley’s point of view up until Scout steps onto his porch and looks at the world around her. After the incident with Bob Ewell Scout realizes that someone had save them, she then turn and saw a man “When I pointed to him his palms slipped slightly, leaving greasy sweat steaks on the wall, and he hooked his thumbs in his belt. A strange small spasm shook him, as if he heard fingernails scrape slate, but as I gazed at him in wonder the tension slowly drained from his face. His lips parted into a timid smile, and our neighbor’s image blurred with my sudden tears. “Hey, Boo,” I said.” (270). At this time, Scout and Boo interact directly for the first time. Scout is no longer afraid of this “malevolent phantom”, and treats Boo as a person, as equal. She knows that he save her life and Jem’s life, and looks upon him with admiration. The overwhelming thought of this moment brings Scout to tears, but as always, she handles herself with maturity. Near the end of the story Scout realize that “Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and 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.”(293) As Scout was walking Boo Radley home she thought to herself “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.”(279) Standing on the Radley porch lets Scout to finally see the world from Boo Radley’s point of view. Earlier in the novel, she was terrified every time she passed the house. Now, as she stands on his porch, she recognizes how much she has mature and how much she has learned over the years. Scout now mature so much that she can realize and see the world around her without Atticus there showing her. Scout steps onto his porch and looks at the world around her no one ever looks at Arthur “Boo” Radley’s point of view up until now, she has learned to step in someone’s shoes and know how they feel.

The true identity of a person is revealed through their actions. Lee uses the actions of her characters, Boo Radley, to reveal their true identity. One character, Boo Radley is portrayed as a good person regardless of earlier opinions and gossips. Through his deeds of kindness, courage compassion his true self is shown. Actions such from Boo Radley as this display qualities of a good person. Throughout the novel many would argue that Tom Robinson stands for the mockingbird throughout the story, but Boo Radley remains the true mockingbird because he helps Jem and Scout and later save their lives.