Katie Blair’s Response To Kill a Mockingbird

Reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird for the second time has created a different view for me when reading it in the lens of disability studies, specifically with Arthur Radley’s character. In particular, the nickname ‘Boo’ Radley stood out to me as having an underlying meaning that I hadn’t noticed before. Although the Radley house is generally disliked by the town, there is a difference in how the adults view them and how the kids view them; specifically, the nickname made me think about how the kids may be interpreting the name ‘Boo’. When Scout is asking Miss Maudie about Arthur Radley, she referred to him as Boo and was quickly told Miss Maudie to call him by his real name. Here, it is clear that Miss Maudie, being much older than Scout, sees Arthur Radley as a real person rather than dehumanizing him with a nickname like ‘Boo’. This is also seen when Atticus tells his kids not to play the ‘Boo Radley’ game because he understands that it was immoral. Scout and Jem are too naïve as children to understand how the game and nickname neglect Arthur as being a real person. This also made me think back to when I was younger, and about how the types of things that scared me as a child seem silly to be scared of today. Jem and Scout probably view the Radleys in similar ways and don’t fully understand how the nickname and game could affect Arthur. With that being said, the adults in the town should do a better job of not creating the Radley house to be a scary place because it translates down to the children to view Arthur in a negative, neglectful way. 

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