A Closer Look at Boo Radley's Eccentric Character in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

Good Essays

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 described as a malevolent phantom, hence his nickname, that eats cats and is over seven feet tall. Boo is known as the town recluse and madman. Nevertheless, there may be some reason for his eccentric behavior. As said by William Shakespeare, “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” Boo Radley is the character in To Kill a Mockingbird that best portrays the idea of madness. His behavior is definitely considered eccentric. As a teenager, Boo got involved with the wrong crowd of people. The group he was in was considered by the other characters as the closest thing to a gang that Maycomb …show more content…

However, to any onlookers, especially adults, this act seems to be similar to something a stalker would do, and is considered more creepy than kind. Early on, Boo did not leave the house simply because he could not. His father would not allow him, mostly because of the agreement with the judge that if Boo was not sent to a reformatory school, he would stay inside the house. However, the Radleys were portrayed as a devoutly religious family. Maybe part of the reason Boo could not leave the house was that he had embarrassed the family by doing wrong and breaking the law. After fifteen years of confinement, Boo stabbed his father in the leg with a pair of scissors. This also seems random and unexplainable. However, Mr. Radley was not necessarily known as the nicest man in Maycomb. In fact, when he died, Calpurnia had no sorrowful, or even kind, words to spare for him. Instead, as they were carrying his body out of the house, Calpurnia said he was the “meanest man that ever breathed.” Also, when Scout was talking to Miss Maudie about Boo’s home life, she said that “you never know what goes on behind closed doors.” These opinions given by two people that are never quick to judge lead us to believe that there might have been some abuse toward Boo in the Radley household. Maybe stabbing Mr. Radley was, in actuality, his reaction to years of maltreatment from his father. When Nathan came to

Get Access