In the historic novel, later made into a movie “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the central character is the little girl Jem, aka “Scout,” the daughter of Atticus Finch, a brave Southern lawyer.
Yet arguably, the absence of flesh around a character does not make him or her a minor character, and as all “bogeymen” go in western societies, a character that is barely written into existence occupies the central space of the narrative–he/she/it is a character that is talked about, gossiped about, shunned for “the sake of the children,” and worse.
In Mockingbird, Boo Radley is that character. He endures all of the above, and eventually is put on trial as a deviant–he seldom, if ever speaks, nor is he fleshed out in the “why and how” such a character exists in the first place–he is in the exegesis, everything, and nothing at all–save for a character that occupies the entirety of the social imagination, and their conception of what he “is” or especially “could be, might be, probably is.”
A character absent, yet here, but not really here, where you or I or they ARE, but rather–in the ether, and there next door to your home–he is a poltergeist for some, and a human–albeit with caveats–to others.
With such a character, all other characters swirl about his life in a dizzying tale describing variously an outsider, who never comes outside–an insider, who is never actually in on anything!.–yet he consumes the entire narrative of one of the most famous American novels of all time!
He is, yet he isn’t–because he is something different for every spectator that ogles him–he is for some a monster to be feared, and for others, a character to be understood, before any other thing–to be comprehended for what he ACTUALLY is, and any action or alliance to follow after careful scrutiny and assessment., .
Boo Radley then, like today was a code word for “mentally ill,” or “crazy,” or “insane.” He was the black guy in the white part of town; the Jew who dared live in the city with the rest of the townsfolk–he was then and is now the ex-felon, the group home dweller; the sex offender, or the reformed addict.
Here is a bit about that character from Fandomvv(cannot link) :
Arthur Radley is Scout’s mysterious neighbor who keeps to himself, never bothering anyone, and never sets foot outside his house, which makes him the target of cruel gossip. Boo dominates the imaginations of Jem, Scout, and Dill, despite them being warned to keep away since his father and brother would like to keep him from accessing the outside world. However, he does what he can to make sure Jem and Scout are safe throughout the book, and leaves presents for them.
I ask my readers to note the very last part of that last sentence: Boo Radley leaves presents for kids.
NOthing ignites the christian cultures imagination MORE than the thought of someone who is not a friend
At the beginning of the story, rumors are spread, and he is depicted as a frightening man who is completely insane. Scout and Jem begin to fear him, but a strange longing for connection shows through in the kids’ obsession with him. Acting out of the life and times of Boo Radley could be a way of trying to understand him by “trying on his skin”, as Atticus always says. Of course, this is not meant to be taken in a literal sense. Instead, what Atticus means is more akin to understanding the point of view of another.
Throughout the book Boo Radley is a mysterious character. The kids are scared of him, spread rumors about him, try to break into his house among other things, so when Atticus says this to Scout it’s him desperately trying to get Scout to understand that Boo Radley is not a monster. Of course, Scout doesn’t understand this at the time.
But as we see near the end of To Kill A Mockingbird, she no longer sees Boo as this monster but instead sees a scared child who simply didn’t have the resources to learn how to function normally in a world that doesn’t accept difference or change…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Apologies to my reader: when US government affiliated private contractors and other such cowards hack a WordPress blog, or hack our computers, manipulate our keyboards, and so on, an infinite number of “small problems” arise for the author, which WordPress to investigate. I had to stop writing this post because the “enter” key stopped working. I could not start a new paragraph. Stay tuned, I will finish this post later. For now, the only button I can hit is “publish.”