Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chapter Eight Boo's Blanket

The main event in chapter eight was the snowfall and subsequent fire, which resulted in the loss of Miss Maudie’s house and touched the Finches’. While everyone in the town rushes to her house to save her possessions, Atticus tells Jem and Scout to wait by the Radley’s place for him. During the commotion, someone secretly slips a brown woolen blanket across Scout’s shoulders. After going back home, Atticus, Scout, and Jem decide that because everyone else was watching the fire, the only person that could have “given” her the blanket was Boo Radley

Throughout the book, Jem and Scout are slowly coming to the realization that Boo Radley is not just a legend, but an actual person. So far, this has happened in a very remote way – by leaving gifts and potentially letters in the tree, they establish contact and friendship in a very impersonal way. So, when Scout realizes that it was Boo Radley who had given her the blanket, she is horrified and “her stomach turned to water (96),” because he was only feet away from her.

Jem and Scout’s different reactions to this incident show their respective levels of maturity. As To Kill A Mockingbird is essentially a story about growing up, the dynamics between Jem and Scout are an important part of the story. While Scout is scared merely by the closeness of her encounter, Jem is afraid of more than that.Why do you think Jem responded the way he did? Why do you think Boo Radley gave her the blanket? Why does Atticus tell them to keep their stories of Boo quiet?

9 comments:

  1. One of the main facets of the story is empathy, this comes into play in two ways here. The first is Boo seeing the two of them standing out in the cold and giving them a blanket. The second is that hopefully, Jem and Scout will realize that Boo is a human being not just an urban legend. This takes empathy on their part to take Boo's actions for what they are, and not judge him on Miss Stephanie Crawford gossip. I think this will later parallel the Robinson case because Atticus is merely defending Tom because it is the right thing to do, there is no other up-side. Why do Jem and Scout react negatively when they hear Boo put the blanket on them?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Tom, that it takes much empathy to do what Boo did. As Jem and Scout find out that Boo was the one who put the blanket on Scout, the two were merely speechless and shocked. By adding the blanket, it was establishing a new way of communication between the kids and Boo. It almost appears as if he wants to try to get to know them by helping them out. Jem and Scout begin to question if the gossip they heard was still what they should believe or whether they should start to believe what they have experienced. This act of kindness from Boo appears to be an important quality that may appear later on in the book. What do you think Jem and Scout will believe: their own experiences or stick with the gossip?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jem's initial reaction is that she wants to vomit. Boo Radley, the main topic of town gossip, the villainous protagonist of the game she so tirelessly played every day of the summer, THIS Boo Radley gave her a BLANKET? Jem has encountered human-like qualities in Boo Radley before, when she heard the laugh or found the gifts in the knothole. The fact that Boo Radley could have the heart to give her a blanket is almost beyond her, but she slowly begins to accept this and realizes that maybe he's not such a creep after all. I agree with Tom that the children are beginning to see Boo as more of a human being and less of an "urban" legend (can Maycomb have an "urban" legend?). I also agree with Jen, that Boo is creating a new link between himself and the children, a means of communication, a token of friendship. Will Scout give the blanket back? Will she come up with some means to reciprocate? Another Thank-You card perhaps?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think that Jem reacts the way he does because he is completely scared of this whole thing with Boo Radley. In the beginning Jem thought (everyone thought) that Boo Radley was dead and always told Scout that. However, now that he knows that Boo Radley did this he is trying to cover up for himself. In chapter 8 he says, "if you'd just turned around, you'da seen him." He's acting as if it's a cool thing. I agree with Jen that since the whole is covered with cement he has to find a new way of communication. Also, Jen said he's trying to be helpful which I agree with. I also think that Mr. Radley will do another thing or try to do another thing blocking their way of communication. To answer Sarah's question, I think they might send another thank-you card. I also think later in the story Boo will end of getting mad at his father because he is stopping the communication, if there is more.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jem's outbreak after hearing Atticus say that "...all of Maycomb was out tonight, in one way or another.(95)" shows that he may be harboring sympathy for Nathan Radley (assuming it's Nathan he's defending - it could be Boo, since he mentions that he's crazy). Until now Scout, however, has felt no conscious positive feelings towards Boo or any of the Radley's, and when she hears that Boo was standing behind her, she feels ill. Boo gave Scout the blanket to further express his affection for the children. My guess is that he's been showing kindness towards the children because they remind him that there are still innocent, curious people out there who won't condemn or give up on you just because of what other people say. Atticus forbids them from spreading the story because he doesn't want all of Maycomb to follow the children's lead and harass Boo Radley to find out who he is. The rumors concerning the Robinson case have already escalated to an unhealthy level and the trial hasn't even occurred. Atticus doesn't want Boo to have to endure the same kind of pressure. Do you think the town would treat Boo the same way they'd treat a black man? At what point, if ever, will the people of Maycomb be able to put reason before prejudice?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jem and Scout are both very disturbed when they realize that the blanket came from Boo Radley. They realize that he is real, not a made up crazy neighbor, not a character in a game. The fact that Boo Radley came out of his house in front of the entire town just to put a blanket on a cold little girl makes him seem less crazy, human even. Crazy neighbors who whittle away at furniture and stab their fathers do not leave gifts for children in trees, do not put blankets on little girls. The children realize this, although they do not say it out loud. They are afraid because the town's prejudices and ASS-umptions have clouded their judgment. They hear all the rumors from Stephanie Crawford, and believe them because they have nothing else to base what they think of Boo on. When they realize that Boo Radley did something kind for them, without asking for thanks or recognition makes them think: can they really trust the town's collective opinion on anything? Atticus tells them not to speak of the incident, because he respects Boo Radley's right to privacy, and knows there are already enough rumors about him coming from Stephanie Crawford alone. How will the children view Boo Radley after what he did? Will they continue with the Boo Radley game?

    ReplyDelete
  7. It seems Jem, Scout and Boo are forming a relationship but Jem and Scout are scared. Boo seems scared to actually show himself so maybe he will later when Scout and Jem aren't so scared and they realize that he is just trying to be friendly. Boo might just not know how to act around people because he had been trapped inside for most of his life, deliberately, by Nathan Radley. Since Nathan had covered up the tree hole with cement he obviously doesn't want Boo to go out in public so maybe thats why Boo never can show himself, thats why he only gave them the blanket.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Boo Radley will keep giving Scout and Jem presents like the ones they find in the tree. If he took the chance to give Scout the blanket when the entire town was in front of his neighborhood he will keep giving Scout and Jem presents. His gifts make him seem like he is like Miss Maudie. She gives Jem and Scout cake whenever she is making some. Boo has given Jem and Scout gum, a watch and the blanket. Since Jem and Scout have more personal interactions with Boo then the rest of town they are developing a entirely different view of him compared to the rest of the town. The children want to share what has happened between them and Boo but Atticus wont let them tell the rest of the town. Atticus knows the town will shun the Finch family if they even try to get Boo out of the house or become friends with him and make the friendship public. How long will the cycle of Boo giving Scout and Jem gifts go on for? Will Boo try to come out or is already coming out to other people but their afraid to say anything like the Finches?

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think this part of the story is a little unrealistic. If you are very cold, and somebody slips a very big, wool blanket on you, you are bound to notice. I think that Boo would naturally come out of his house to see what all of the commotion is. When he sees the kids outside and freezing, he decides to be a nicer person and warm them up a little. I think that all of the rumors about Boo Radley are not true. i Don't think that he stabbed his father in the leg with scissors. I think this because throughout the story, he has been giving the kids gifts and being kind to them in many ways: he gave them a lot of gum, a bundle of string, a nice watch, sowed up Jem's pants, and lastly, gave them a very nice woolen blanket so they wouldn't freeze to death.

    ReplyDelete