My favorite book and movie are To Kill a Mockingbird. When I first read the book, when I finished I turned back to page 1 and read it again. The first time I saw the movie I went back the next night to see it again. The book and movie have greatly impacted my life.
As I noted in an earlier post, Atticus Finch gave me a role model for being a father. But I also am drawn to one other figure who appears infrequently but looms large throughout the story. That figure is Boo Radley.
Boo was a neighbor who, by and large, was a recluse, kept at home in part because of a violent incident. Boo would probably be diagnosed as schizophrenic nowadays. Yet Boo becomes attached to the Finch children and starts to give them small gifts — a school spelling medal, a pocket knife, a broken watch and chain and other little surprises the children would find in a knothole of a tree.
Being a recluse, however, Boo was someone of whom the children were both afraid and intrigued by. As their friend Dill says, “Wonder what he does in there? Wonder what he looks like?”, starting an effort to make Boo Radley come out. And come out he does in a powerful act of self-sacrifice.
Why am I drawn to Boo? I think in part because I have parts of me that I kept locked up, mainly out of some sort of fear. Thus, for example in my own case, I kept creativity locked up out of fear of being criticized. Perhaps you have kept a part locked up as well. For some, they lock away their sexual side or their aggressive side. Others will simply lock up their capacity to love.
We know that the Shadow comes bearing a gift, just as Boo Radley did. But to receive that gift, we have to find a way to let our own Boo Radley come out.
Here then is a beautiful scene after Boo Radley comes out (And, yes, that is a very young Robert Duvall as Boo!)
Reflection: What is your inner Boo Radley like? Have you been able to let him/her out in some way?