To Kill a Mockingbird Persuasive Essay:
Boo Radley, More like Boo Hoo Radley, Because He’ll be Crying, Because He’s Guilty
Mrs. Kimberly Vreeland
Written by: Taylor Williams
English I Honors
After reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, students in Mrs. Kimberly Vreeland’s English I Honors class wrote persuasive essays arguing Boo Radley’s
guilt or innocence with regard to Bob Ewell’s death.
Taylor Williams ’18 wrote the following persuasive essay with the purpose to prove Boo Radley’s guilt in the case of Bob Ewell’s death.
Boo Radley, More like Boo Hoo Radley, Because He’ll be Crying, Because He’s Guilty
Boo Radley. No single named has caused more controversy in a town than the name Boo Radley in the town of Maycomb. The town shut-in, he’s lived behind a cloud of mystery for as long as many can remember. In his early days, he’d confidently walk the streets with the Cunninghams, causing all sorts of mischief. Maycomb’s citizens thought nothing of it, merely a troublesome adolescent seeking public attention. Little did anybody expect Boo Radley to become a cold-blooded killer. Gathered evidence has proven that not only has his violent nature returned in the murder of Mr. Robert Ewell, but he has also been stalking children, leaving presents for them, luring them closer to him. On the evening of October 31, All Hallow’s Eve, Boo Radley murdered Mr. Ewell, and there is evidence to back it up – his violent nature, his history of stalking. Not only that, but as the controversial incident took place, Jean Louise Finch, the daughter of Atticus Finch and the only other witness to the crime, felt the jerking back of Mr. Ewell, as though he had been shoved to the ground, only to see Boo Radley running from the scene. A coincidence? A circumstantial happenstance? The wrong place at the wrong time? As if. Boo Radley is, in fact, responsible for the murder of Mr. Robert Ewell.
Backtracking years, even decades, one will find the origin of Boo Radley’s knack for violence. It started when he was just a teenager. Fitting in with the wrong crowd, he befriended the Cunninghams. The closest thing to a gang Maycomb ever had, they went around causing, not too much mayhem at first, but soon became more and more violent. The first serious offense they committed was locking poor old Mr. Conner, Maycomb’s beadle, in the courthouse outhouse after they resisted arrest. Now one might be thinking, Oh, that was a long time ago. Boo’s changed. Well, he hasn’t. He’s only become worse since then. Not even thirteen years ago, the town saw Boo for the first time in fifteen years, when he drove a pair of scissors into his father’s leg. Every single person in the town knows the truth; Boo Radley is lethal. This is proof that he has kept his violent nature over the years, perhaps practicing for when a racist pig of a man attacks two children. That is, two children he has been stalking.
Anyone can ask Mr. Jem Finch, Atticus Finch’s eldest child, and he’ll tell of all the incidences involving him, along with perhaps his sister and their friend, causing trouble on the Radley property. It would be hard to believe that in all this time, Boo Radley has not once seen them. He has, for sure. In fact, one of the Radleys sewed Jem’s pants for him when he ripped them on the fence. This may have been the first time Boo noticed them, but it certainly was not the last. Something about the innocence in these children did something to Boo, immensely intriguing him. He followed them around, watching only where he knew he couldn’t be seen, and he wasn’t. The kids didn’t see him, neighbors didn’t see him. Nobody knew that Boo Radley was stalking the Finch children… until he began leaving gifts. After what was probably a few months of stalking these kids, mentally recording their daily habits, what they like and dislike, Boo finally decided it was time to connect with them. Because he had followed their every move for so long, he knew that they passed a certain tree with a certain knothole in it on their walk back from school every day. Knowing what they liked, he put two sticks of gum in the tree, as a small gesture. It wasn’t anything big; he just did it to see how the kids would react. He slowly began to put more items in the tree of higher value, including two soap figures carved to look identical to them, as well as a pocket watch. He continued this until Mr. Nathan Radley filled the hole with cement. It is likely that this upset Boo, but did not stop him. He would continue to follow these children until the fateful night of Bob Ewell’s death.
It’s October 31st, Halloween. Jean Louise, or Scout, Finch and her older brother, Jem, are walking home from a school Halloween pageant. They hear footsteps near them. Assuming it’s Cecil Jacobs, who had tried to scare them earlier, they continue to walk. Eventually, the source of the footsteps attacks them, throwing Jem to the ground. It’s Bob Ewell, getting back at the lawyer who publicly shamed his family, by attacking his children. After a few attempts to defend herself, Scout notices that it is no longer just the three of them; a fourth person has joined them. As Scout is about to be thrown to the ground by Ewell, she feels him jerk back, hitting the ground with a loud thud. It has become apparent that this fourth person is on their side. As Bob Ewell lies limp on the ground, Scout hears the sound of this mystery man pick up Jem and run to the Finch household with him. It is later revealed that this man is none other than the Boo Radley. Boo Radley was the man who came to aid in the fight. When Ewell jerks back and falls to the ground, he dies. Could he have just fallen? Sure. Did he? It’s not likely. The amount of force and velocity he fell back at ensures that he couldn’t have simply fallen over. Boo Radley, having joined the scene unbeknownst to Ewell, had the opportunity to gain a good vantage point and, regardless of his strength, had the potential to slam Ewell to the ground. Not only that, but Heck Tate points out to Atticus as they get home that the knife that had killed Ewell and impaled the soft space between his ribs was unidentified. It’s unknown who the knife really belongs to, but this area between the ribs is a highly plausible area for Boo Radley to have stabbed with a knife he grabbed from his kitchen as soon as he heard commotion. Here’s the scenario: As he recognizes the children’s voices, Boo Radley runs to their aid, stabs Ewell, and throws him to the ground. Assessing the scene, he quickly gathers Jem to rescue him. Heck Tate approaches the scene, sees the knife and angle of Ewell, and draws the conclusion that he fell on his knife. This is for two reasons. It is partially because Ewell’s accidental suicide is a possibility, but also partially due to the fact that Boo Radley would become a town hero, causing all the women in the town to bust down the door to his secluded sanctuary, altogether destroying his lifestyle.
It is not being said that Boo Radley’s actions are without justification. He had all the reason to kill Bob Ewell. However, he did commit murder, which is a crime among all other crimes. He was not attacked, the attack did not take place in his home or on his property, and he was the first aggressor on Bob Ewell. Ewell did not attack Radley. It is not even clear that he had intentions of killing the kids, but merely scaring them. Radley has had a history of committing violent acts, he has been stalking the children for months upon months, and in the dark, the most likely explanation for Ewell’s fall is a stab and a shove from Radley. Therefore, although his actions are justified, Boo Radley is guilty for the murder of Mr. Robert Ewell.
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Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements / paper topics on “To Kill a Mockingbird” that can be used as essay starters. All five incorporate at least one of the themes found in “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements for “To Kill a Mockingbird” offer a short summary of different elements that could be important in an essay but you are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.>*Note: Additional Quotes from this and other books can be found easily in books online *
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: Notions of Justice and Fairness in “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
Despite the unwavering dedication of Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird”, the absence of evidence, and a moving courtroom speech, Tom Robinson is convicted of a crime that he did not commit. This jury ruling causes both those who advocated Robinson’s conviction and those who were convinced of his innocence to question their notions of justice and fairness. As if a false conviction was not enough, Tom is eventually killed, and the sense of justice and fairness seem to be completely violated. Write an argumentative essay on “To Kill a Mockingbird” in which you establish what Lee is trying to convey regarding these two concepts that are so important to civil society. Questions that you might want to consider include: If justice and fairness are so elusive, how can Atticus and Scout continue to believe in them?, and Are justice and fairness conflicting concepts in “To Kill a Mockingbird”?Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: The Various Forms of Discrimination in To Kill a Mockingbird
The most obvious form of discrimination in To Kill a Mockingbird is racism; however, there are other types of prejudice and discrimination that typify relationships among the novel’s characters. Scout, for example, is ridiculed in “To Kill a Mockingbird” because she is a tomboy. Boo Radley is ostracized despite the fact that hardly anyone knows him. Reverse racism is also present in the novel, as evidenced by the threats against Atticus Finch and his family as he defends Tom Robinson. Take one or more of the forms of discrimination in To Kill a Mockingbird and write an analytic essay in which you explain the forms and, if applicable, compare and contrast the types of discrimination. You should argue whether the lessons about discrimination that Scout learns are applicable to all types of prejudice, or whether they apply to racism alone.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Moral Development of Scout and Jem in “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Scout and her brother Jem are both children of the morally passionate lawyer, Atticus Finch, and both are exposed to the same experiences that shape their sense of right and wrong. Yet Scout and Jem come to dramatically different conclusions about good and evil and the essential nature of humankind. Write an expository essay on “To Kill a Mockingbird” in which you develop an understanding of how Scout and Jem arrive at such disparate concepts of the world. Be sure to consider not only the final worldview at which each arrives, but to look at the novel as a whole and identify how their belief systems develop. Include relevant quotations that demonstrate how, despite their shared experiences, Scout and Jem begin to part ways, philosophically speaking, early in the novel.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4 The Role of Place in To Kill a Mockingbird
The town of Maycomb is described in great detail in “To Kill a Mockingbird”, so much so that the reader gets the sense that Maycomb is more than a setting; it takes on the weight and importance of a character. Write an expository or persuasive essay on “To Kill a Mockingbird” in which you describe Maycomb and explain its significance with respect to the events and meaning of the novel. Be sure to dig beneath the surface: it’s easy to say that Maycomb is a Southern town and that certain social dynamics—such as racism—shape the characters and their circumstances, but there are also more subtle characteristics about the town that exert influence over the novel’s outcome. Finally, consider whether Maycomb is changed by the conclusion. It shapes people and events, but it is also shaped by its inhabitants and their actions.
Thesis Statement/Essay Topic #5: Character Analysis of Atticus Finch
One of the most inspiring characters in 20th century American literature is Atticus Finch. A morally upright lawyer, a committed and loving father, and an overall good citizen, Finch is regarded highly by most citizens with a sense of justice. Write an essay in which you analyze Atticus Finch’s character. You may wish to focus the content of your essay by selecting a single quote or passage (consider a portion of the courtroom speech, for instance) and explaining how it reflects Finch’s character strengths. Address whether Finch has any flaws, and explain how he conveys his beliefs to his children and his community.
* For an outstanding essay/article analyzing the character of Atticus Finch,click here *