Is Boo Radley the quintessential creep? Or, is he just isolated and misunderstood, hiding himself away to avoid people's judgment? You decide. He just doesn't belong heeeeeereeeeeee...
|American Literature||20th-Century American Literature|
All American Literature
|Author||Lee - Harper Lee|
|Themes||Coming of Age|
Morality and Ethics
feet tall. And he has a long, jagged scar across his
face and rotten, yellow teeth. And Jem says that he spends the better part
of his days drooling and feasting on squirrels and cats.
When it walks like a creep, talks like a creep, and acts like a creep, it is a creep. So Boo
Radley is officially a creep. Or is he? Maybe these are just our perceptions
of Boo. There are those who perceive Boo Radley as
a saint. After all, it was Boo who mended a meddling
Jem’s pants. And it was Boo who protected Scout from getting
a chill when Miss Maudie’s house burned down.
And it was Boo who communicated with Jem and Scout by leaving thoughtful gifts in the knothole.
And yep, you guessed it - it was our old pal Boo who risked life and limb to protect Jem
from Bob Ewell’s attack. So which is it?
Is Boo a creeper? Or is Boo a saint?
It may be all about perspective. Boo Radley is creepy only because we don’t
really know him. And depending on how you look at someone,
they can either be super creepy or super sweet. So if Boo is such a fabulous dude, why doesn’t
he just hang out and let everyone get to know him?
It’s hard to say, really. Maybe Boo is afraid of how people will treat
him… Or he’s afraid that people will judge him.
Or maybe Jem is right… No, not that Jem.
There you go… Maybe Boo stays inside because he WANTS to
stay inside. Perhaps after all the years of gossip, scrutiny,
and ridicule, Boo just doesn’t want be known. But this begs the question: Can you still
be human without being part of a community? Boo Radley: he’s an enigma, wrapped in a
mystery, tucked into phyllo dough, and then stuffed with spinach.
But he ain’t no creeper. He’s just misunderstood.
And yes, there’s an important lesson to be learned from all of this.
You can’t judge a book by its cover. Because after all, wasn’t Harper Lee a little
like Boo? Aren’t we ALL a little like Boo?
Shmoop amongst yourselves…