To Kill a Mockingbird – Chapter 31

Boo Radley is timid and unsure of himself. His movements evoke that of a baby: “Every move he made was uncertain, as if he were not sure his hands and feet could make proper contact with the things he touched.” When he looks at Jem, he has an expression of “timid curiosity …as though he had never seen a boy before.” Scout notes that his voice is like that of a “child afraid of the dark.”Answers may vary. Example: Boo’s childlike behavior can be interpreted on two levels. He is literally like a child in a grown man’s body because he has been closed off from the outside world since his adolescence. Lacking communication and stimulation for decades, it is as if he stopped developing the day his father initially locked him in the house. On asymbolic level, Boo’s childlike nature further emphasizes the idea the he is the embodiment ofinnocence itself. In what ways is Boo Radley like a child, according to Scout’s description of him in thischapter? What is the significance of his childlike behavior?
Scout thinks of all the kind gifts that Boo had given to her and Jem and is saddened that they never gave him anything in return: “Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give inreturn. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.” As Boo disappears into his house after Scout walks him home, she thinks of something that makes her sad. What are her thoughts?
Scout’s series of flashbacks begins with the line, “Daylight…in my mind, the night faded.”She remembers several scenes from the past two years that the reader will remember as well: She and Jem running to meet Atticus on his way home from work; Jem carrying a fishing pole on the day they tried to send a note to Boo Radley; she, Jem, and Dill acting out their play about the Radley family; the day they found the gifts in the oak tree; the night of the fire that destroyed Miss Maudie’s house; Atticus shooting the rabid dog. Her last flashback brings the reader back to the present: “Summer, and he watched his children’s heart break. Autumn again, and Boo’s children needed him.” Scout is seeing things from Boo Radley’s perspective for the first time. By standing on the porch in front of the shuttered window, she deliberately places herself in Boo’s shoes and recalls all of the events of the past two years as if she is seeing them the way he would have seen them. She realizes that Boo had been a friend to her and Jem all along, had gotten to know them without them even realizing it, and that perhaps he came to think of them as “his children.” As Scout stands on the Radleys’ front porch, she flashes back to a number of scenes from the previous two years. Summarize these flashbacks. What is the significance of Scout’s remembering these scenes while standing on Boo’s porch?
She remembers Atticus’s lesson about standing in someone else’s shoes in order to understand them, one of the novel’s major themes: “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.”By allowing herself to see the world from another person’s perspective, Scout finally grasps Atticus’s lesson: that sympathy, compassion, and understanding are among the greatest virtues. The scene also demonstrates that, like Jem, Scout has matured over the course of the novel. What lesson of Atticus’s comes to Scout’s mind as she reminisces on the Radley porch?What is the significance of her realization?
Scout recaps for Atticus the plot of The Gray Ghost: “…they all thought it was Stoner’s boy messin’ up their clubhouse an’ throwin’ ink all over it an’…they chased him ‘n’ never could catch him ’cause they didn’t know what he looked like, an’…when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things…Atticus, he was real nice….”The ending of The Gray Ghost is similar to the ending of To Kill a Mockingbird. At the beginning of the novel, Scout and Jem had been frightened and suspicious of Boo Radley because of the scary rumors and gossip that surrounded the Radley family. However, by the end of the novel, Scout realizes that Boo had not been some kind of monster at all. When she finally sees him, she discovers that he had been just the opposite—shy, gentle, generous, and kind. As Atticus leads Scout to bed, she dreamily talks about the plot of The Gray Ghost, one of the novels that she and Jem had known very well. How is the ending of that booksimilar to Scout’s experiences with Boo Radley?
He says that most people are nice “when you finally see them.” His final statement highlights one of the novel’s major themes: Despite its capacity for evil, humanity also has a tremendous capacity for good. What is Atticus’s final statement about people? What theme does this statement highlight?

You Might Also Like