Boo Radley, also known as Arthur Radley in the novel is a character that appears mostly in the children's imagination and in the stories told by the people of Maycomb. Boo Radley, lived with his father and mother and they were neighbours with the Finches. However, Boo has not been seen nor heard of since many years ago when his father reffered to him as the disgrace of the family. We are first made aware of Boo when Jem gives us a reasonable description of him.

Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that's why his hands were bloodstained if you ate an animal raw, you could never wash the blood off. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time. (1.65)
From this description Boo is portrayed as a demonised character that is very mysterious and dangerous. This creates a sense of fear, adrenaline and thrill to the reader as they read about the stories that the children come up with to amuse themselves. The children do not quite believe that Boo is a real person and are therefore encouraged to make up thrilling stories to bring the character of Boo alive. Boo becomes an obsession to the children and as the novel progresses and the children mature, they gather a better understanding about Boo's character and his actions.

Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time... it's because he wants to stay inside." (23.117)
This quote is quoted by Jem after the trial of Tom Robinson. After the trial Jem realizes the horrible ways of the Maycomb people he understands that Boo Radley may have chosen to stay inside in order to escape the mess of humanity and the unjust society.

At the conslusion of the novel Boo Radley does come out of his home in order to help Jem and Scout escape the cruel intentions of Mr Ewell. After a struggle to save the children, Boo finds himself carrying an unconscious Jem back to Atticus. This is a good example of when Boo transforms from an evil and demonised character into a guardian angel, and perhaps even a mockingbird. From that day on the children perspectives on Boo are changed and he remains a true hero to them.

By: Naomi Borg