To Kill a Mockingbird

Boo radley 2

How does boo add more to the main characters?

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Arthur is a mysterious character. No one in Maycomb can define him by family name, as they do with others, e.g. Haverford is "in Maycomb County a name synonymous with jackass." He is also "different" because he does not come out and socialize with neighbors. Hence they make up rumors about him. No "normal" person would stay indoors all the time, so he must be "a malevolent phantom." The children believe all the malarky about him and even play-act his rumored life story. But over the years they come to know him as a shy, gentle man who is not at all harmful. They learn to decide for themselves what a person is about, based on their experiences with that person, instead of depending on local legend about families and their "tendencies."

At the end of the novel, as Atticus is reading the Gray Ghost to Scout, she summarizes the plot and ends with "it turns out he never did any of those bad things--Atticus, he was real nice." Suddenly the focus shifts from the character in the book to Arthur. Her experiences with Arthur help her to grow up. Jem came to understand "Boo" long ago (when he was crying on the porch about the cement in the knothole), and now Scout undertands too.