To Kill a Mockingbird: Similarities in Tom and Boo's Lives

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Certain uncanny resemblances between Tom Robinson and Boo Radley's lives exist in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. Often large groups of people misunderstand certain unusual individuals. Sometimes they stereotype the person; other times, they simply do not bother to find out the truth. When such circumstances occur, the ostracized person's actions become unfairly misinterpreted or not understood at all. Sometimes rumors circulate about the individuals, that might then be assumed as the truth. In this novel, Tom and Boo are both outsiders to the white, normal society of Maycomb county. Tom and Boo share generous natures that are misunderstood; they hold little social value, and are generally assumed guilty.

The first parallel in the lives of Tom and Boo, focuses on their property. Tom lives in the "nigger nest" (pg. 175) near to Mr. Ewell but outside the city limits. While testifying Mr. Ewell says, "I've asked this county for fifteen years to clean out that nest down yonder, they're dangerous to live around 'sides devaluin' my property (pg. 175)". A person's status often relates to his property, and the interpretation of that property's value is often based on the tenants of the land. In Maycomb county, the black community inhabits the least desirable property. In the Jim Crow era, blacks were stereotyped as violent and unclean; therefore, the property they owned was considered unvaluable and was located in the worst part of the county territory. On the other hand, the people in the "best" part of town are always white and upper class members of society. Mr. Ewell lives directly next to the town dump, yet he considers the blacks that he lives near a larger threat to his land's value than the appearance and stench of the city's trash. Most people in the better parts of town might even agree with him because they assume that the black people are a constant menace to white society, and being near them endangers one's life.

The Radley...
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