To Kill a Mockingbird

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A recluse who never sets foot outside his house, Arthur is an object of fascination for many Maycomb residents. Many rumors describe Arthur as a kind of monster who stabbed his father as a boy, eats cats, and haunts the neighborhood at night. He turns out to be innocent, gentle, kind, protective of children, intensely shy, and one of the mockingbirds to which the title of To Kill a Mockingbird refers.

Arthur Radley (Boo) Quotes in To Kill a Mockingbird

The To Kill a Mockingbird quotes below are all either spoken by Arthur Radley (Boo) or refer to Arthur Radley (Boo). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Warner Books edition of To Kill a Mockingbird published in 1960.
Chapter 31 Quotes
A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishing pole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention. It was fall, and his children fought on the sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's. . . . Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woes and triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive. Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog. Summer, and he watched his children's heart break. Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him. 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.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem), Atticus Finch, Arthur Radley (Boo), Charles Baker Harris (Dill), Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
Page Number: 374
Explanation and Analysis:

After Bob Ewell's attack on the Scout and Jem was thwarted by Boo Radley, Scout accompanies Boo Radley back to his house. She pauses on the Radley porch and looks out at the street. Briefly, we relive the entire trajectory of the novel, from the most significant highlights to the descriptions of everyday life in Maycomb, but through Boo Radley's eyes from within his house. Atticus's lesson, which Scout has remembered from long ago, was that you shouldn't judge someone based on first impressions: instead, you should try to see things from his or her perspective, try to really understand the person behind the appearance. Now she tries to do so, seeing herself and Jem as if they were someone else's children, viewed by a sympathetic stranger.

Of course, Scout has not really pierced Boo Radley's character – she hasn't really gotten to know him – merely by standing on his porch. But her revision of the events of the last year or so are a child's earnest attempt to try. She sees how Boo Radley could have developed a close emotional connection to her and her family even without ever speaking with them. The goodness and empathy that he shows is not on the surface, in the way he talks or looks, but in fact is far more profound.

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When they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things . . . Atticus, he was real nice. . . ." His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them." He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.
Related Characters: Jean Louise Finch (Scout) (speaker), Atticus Finch (speaker), Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem), Arthur Radley (Boo)
Page Number: 376
Explanation and Analysis:

Back at the family home, Scout tries to explain to Atticus what she has realized about Boo Radley: that all the suspicious rumors and prejudice against him actually have no basis in fact. Atticus is not shocked by this revelation. Indeed, he has told the children not to judge people before they stand in their shoes not so that they wait to judge until they understand better, but rather so that they learn that they have little right to judge at all. Atticus believes deeply that most people are good at heart, but are led astray by prejudice and by temptation. He is not naive – he does recognize the existence of evil in the world that must be fought against – but for him this evil is not located permanently in specific people but rather moves around, always able to insert itself in a given situation, but always able to be challenged as well.

Scout and Jem have, through the events of the novel. learned to take such a subtle approach to good and evil as well. They have lost much of their childhood innocence as a result. Still, having gained these difficult lessons, they are still in a transition period between childhood and adulthood. Atticus's great gift to them is to accompany them through this transition, watching over them as they make it.

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Arthur Radley (Boo) Character Timeline in To Kill a Mockingbird

The timeline below shows where the character Arthur Radley (Boo) appears in To Kill a Mockingbird. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
Soon, Dill becomes fascinated with the nearby Radley house, and more particularly with the legendary Boo Radley who lives inside. As Maycomb legend tells it, Boo got into trouble with the... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Dill tries to think of ways to get Boo to come out, but settles on a dare: he'll give Jem a Gray Ghost comic... (full context)
Chapter 4
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...the Radley's house, Jem comes up with a new game: they're going to act out Boo Radley's story. Atticus catches them playing. Jem lies and says they weren't impersonating the Radley's. (full context)
Chapter 5
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Growing Up Theme Icon
...Atkinson, a neighbor who grew up with Atticus. One evening, Scout asks Miss Maudie why Boo Radley never comes out. Miss Maudie says it's because Boo doesn't want to. She says... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...Radley house with a fishing rod. Atticus catches them and tells them to stop bothering Boo Radley just because he seems peculiar. (full context)
Chapter 8
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...that someone has draped a blanket over her shoulders. Jem says it must have been Boo Radley who gave her the blanket. (full context)
Chapter 23
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...prejudiced. They come up with all sorts of reasons but none seems sufficient. Jem realizes Boo Radley stays in his house because he wants to. (full context)
Chapter 26
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Courage Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
School starts. As a third grader, Scout is no longer frightened of Boo Radley. She is confused, however, when the town, which was so set against Atticus defending... (full context)
Chapter 29
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Growing Up Theme Icon
...corner of the room is the person who saved her. Then she realizes that he's Boo Radley, and says "Hey, Boo." (full context)
Chapter 30
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
...Ewell and doesn't want it covered up. But Tate says that Jem didn't kill Ewell. Boo Radley did. As sheriff, Tate decides that Boo was saving other people's lives and doesn't... (full context)
Chapter 31
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A little later, Scout escorts Boo back to the Radley House. After Boo has gone inside, she looks out at the... (full context)