Stuart Neilson

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Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Lee, Harper - "To Kill a Mockingbird"
This book is one of the classics of English literature and a staple of school reading lists. Boo Radley is a haunting character throughout the book, held responsible for all manner of strange events in the night, and an unseen figure of 'the other' that children naturally fear. Boo is an individual 'other' against a great backdrop, the other ethnic groups growing in confidence and power in 1930s America. When Arthur "Boo" Radley finally makes an appearance, in the second-to-last chapter, he is unassuming and harmless - having, in fact, saved Scout and Jem from a violent assault. Boo is certainly socially awkward and has difficulty with communication, although the exact diagnosis is irrelevant to the fear that people have of the other that his difference from 'normal'. His image is finally rehabilitated when Scout walks him home, understanding him and his "body English" only by standing in his shoes, looking at the world from the perspective of Boo's previously forbidden front porch.
Guardian review