Boo Radley in Tkam

The way that Harper Lee portrays Boo Radley in the first 8 chapters of “To Kill A Mockingbird” is very important for our understanding of him as a character. In the first chapter we are told that Jem thinks “it all started” when they tried “making Boo Radley come out” – Harper Lee says nothing more about Boo for a few pages but leaves us with the knowledge that Boo is a key character in what will happen in the book, even if we don’t know it straight away. However when we carry on reading we are told that “inside the house lived a malevolent phantom” which tells us that Boo is more than a bad person, the word malevolent gives us the impression that Boo wishes evil or bad on others.
When Harper Lee goes on to tell us a little bit about Boo’s background and childhood we find out that he “formed the nearest thing to a gang” with his brother and some friends, so we know that, whilst he’s mostly harmless, he’s always been a troublemaker. However we also find out then when Mr Radley finds out and says he would deal with it then from that day on Boo “was not seen again for fifteen years” which gives us the impression that Boo has perhaps been imprisoned by his family in a house that he can only escape from under cover of darkness. This point is possibly the first time that we begin to feel a twinge of pity for Boo. However throughout the next few chapters we get mixed messages from Scout about what Boo is really like – and so any pity we might feel for him is blinded by Scout’s fear.
Over the next couple of chapters Harper Lee leaves us to dwell on who we think Boo really is whilst Scout begins her first year of school. But then in chapter four when Scout is on the way back from school she sees the foil in the tree in the Radley house which has been stuck to the tree just above her eye level and, whilst Scout does not understand, we as readers know that it was Boo who left her the gum and whilst we don’t know why; we still see it as a kind gesture.
Later on in...