To Kill a Mockingbird – Chapter 8

At the beginning of the chapter, Scout mentions that old Mrs. Radley died but her death “caused hardly a ripple” in the neighborhood. Why was this case? Mrs. Radley was very seldom seen outside of her house. Since she had no contact with her neighbors, no one was really affected by her death.
What dramatic event causes Atticus to wake up the children at one o’clock in the morning? Miss Maudie’s house is on fire. The men of the neighborhood are trying to salvage Miss Maudie’s furniture from the flames. Three fire trucks arrive to fight the fire. By the end of the night, Miss Maudie’s home is completely demolished.
Why does Atticus make the children leave the house and stand in front of the Radley house? There is a chance that the fire will spread to some of the neighboring houses, including the Finches’ house.
As Jem and Scout drink hot chocolate with their father after the fire, Scout noticesAtticus looking at her with curiosity and sternness. What does he see? How does Scout react? Atticus sees a blanket around her shoulders that does not belong to the Finches. Scout and Jem are both bewildered by the presence of the blanket. Scout does not remember putting it on, nor does she remember anyone giving it to her. All the children know is that they had been standing down by the Radley gate where Atticus told them to stay.
Who put the blanket around Scout’s shoulders, and how does Atticus reach this conclusion? Boo Radley put the blanket on Scout.
What is Scout’s reaction when she hears the information? Atticus comes to this conclusion because no one else in the Radley house could have done so. Mrs. Radley had recently died, and Nathan Radley was over at the fire helping out. When Scout hears the information, she feels sick: “My stomach turned to water and I nearly threw up….” She is obviously still terrified of the Boo Radley of her imagination—the monstrous figure that superstition and gossip have created.
Why do Atticus and Jem decide not to return the blanket at this time? Atticus and Jem both realize that if they return the blanket, Nathan Radley will know that Boo ventured out of the house. They decide not to return it in hopes of saving Boo from punishment.
Up to this point in the novel, Boo Radley has been perceived as a lunatic or a monster. What evidence in the past two chapters indicates that he is not at all the threatening figure that people have made him out to be? Boo apparently was responsible for the kind act of mending Jem’s pants and folding them neatly over the fence. Evidence also points to the fact that he was behind all of the gifts that Jem and Scout found in the tree. Most recently, it has been discovered that Boo was the one who put the blanket around Scout on the night of the fire. All of these actions demonstrate that Boo Radley is the opposite of what most of the townspeople think. By all indications, he is not a scary or threatening figure but, instead, a kind, caring, and generous man.

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