To Kill A Mockingbird is set in Alabama in the 1930’s in a time of Economic depression and racial prejudice. In my essay I am going to discuss how Boo Radley is made into the monster that he was supposed to be.
When Boo was younger, he lived with his family who’s surname was regarded with dignity and pride. Over time, the young Boo Radley rebelled against his family and got involved with the ‘wrong crowd.’ Eventually he joined a malicious gang that terrorised Maycomb County putting fear into the residents and destroying property. Soon the law got involved and Boo was arrested for joyriding and stabbing his father in the leg with a pair of scissors. His father being a proud respectable man didn’t want his family’s name disgraced so instead of Boo being sent to a young offenders prison, he was locked away in confinement in his own house, only being allowed out at night. Maycomb being a small town, it didn’t take long for rumors and myths to spread. Just as in Chinese whispers the rumors became twisted and distorted and this was the starting point of how Boo became a monster.
The residents of Maycomb make Boo out to be an evil monster. The children see him as a threat, an outsider, someone abnormal. This creates fear and excitement. Telling stories about the monster makes him seem even more scary to them. Here a story from Jem shows how Boo is perceived. ‘Boo was about six and a half feet tall, judging from his tracks. He dined on raw squirrels and any cats that he could catch, that’s why his hands were blood stained. If you ate and animal raw, you could never wash the blood off. There was a long jagged scar across his face: what teeth he had were yellow and rotten: his eyes popped and he drooled most of the time’.
Although this description may be interesting to read and created horrific images of an evil monster in your mind, you can obviously see that it is a fabricated description. This description was created in Jem’s imagination. In my opinion Jem did this because children like to get scared, getting a thrill of some sort can be classed as having fun. To prove this, every now and then Jem, Scout and Dill dare each other to run up to the front door of Boo’s and look through the letterbox. This is a way for the children to get excited because in a small town like Maycomb there isn’t much to do. This is the only fun that they can get. It seems that the children do try to achieve things by persecuting Boo. They all seem to have an aim to make Boo come out of his house because after all they have only seem him in their minds, not in real life.
The first real incident involving Boo and the children was when Jem ripped his trousers and when he went back for them they were mended. I feel empathy towards Boo because he is trying to make contact with the children. Even though he was trying to help Jem he scared him even more. ‘They’d been sewed up. Not like a lady ad sewed them, like something I’d try to do. All crooked. Almost like.’ Jem shuddered ‘ It’s almost like somebody was reading my mind…..like someone could tell what I was going to do.’ From what Jem said you can see that when Jem is confronted with the idea that the monster knows what he’s doing fear takes over him and for a week he is silent and wants to be alone.
Eventually Boo is seen as a hero figure because he saves the children. ‘ We were nearly at the road when I felt Jem’s hand leave me, felt him jerk backwards to the ground. More scuffling, and there came a dull crunching sound and Jem screamed. I ran in the direction of Jem’s scream and sank into a flabby male stomach. It’s owner said, “Uff!” and tried to catch my arms, but they were tightly pinioned. His stomach was soft but his arms were like steel. He slowly squeezed the breath out of me. I could not move. Suddenly he was jerked backwards and flung to the ground, almost carrying me with him. I thought Jem’s up.’ I have underlined this little sentence because it is very important. This is the point at which Boo has come to save the children. This is the point in the story where Boo is no longer a monster but becomes a hero. Eventually Boo goes to the Finch’s house and even though Heck Tate knows full well that Boo killed Mr. Ewell he doesn’t arrest him.
This action shows companionship and how grateful Heck was towards Boo. ‘I wondered why Atticus was inviting us to the front porch instead of the living-room, then I understood. The living-room lights were awfully strong’. I choose this paragraph because it shows how Atticus was being very considerate towards Boo and was concerned for Boo. This is because Boo was only allowed out at night he wasn’t used to lights. At the end of the story I could see that Harper Lee had wanted to put across a message. You don’t believe what people tell you. For example Boo Radley is very nice. Even though Boo Radley isn’t a Frankenstein look-alike with nuts and screws sticking out of his head and neck he was still perceived as a monster.
This at first seems strange but when you read into the stories and lies told about Boo, you see how he’s been created as a monster. People describe him as being wicked and evil and the children have vivid imaginations about him. About how he’s over six foot and eats raw animals for breakfast. Boo wasn’t created by Frankenstein and brought to life, but created by the people of Maycomb County and brought up being perceived as a monster. Maycomb County and Frankenstein are almost identical. They both created monsters and then wished to hunt them down and destroy them, even though they might not be evil and wicked.