To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
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Foil

Character Role Analysis

Tom Robinson and Boo Radley

One lives with his wife and children among friends, the other lives in isolation with his taciturn brother. One has his fellow churchgoers take up a collection on his behalf, while the other has no one think much about him except some curious kids.

But dig deeper, and Tom and Boo start to look more similar: both are disabled in some way (Tom's crippled arm, Boo's crippling shyness), both are innocents with a bad reputation, and both are compared to mockingbirds. And they both serve as scapegoats for their community, being blamed for things they didn't do. This pairing suggests that the people a community includes may be less important than those whom it excludes.


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