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Boo Radley in “To Kill A Mockingbird” and Miss Havisham in “Great Expectations”

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‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ and ‘Great Expectations’ are two novels written in Bildungsroman. That is they are both novels that describe a character’s childhood to adulthood. Also both of these are fictional-biographies, which mean that they are both made up character’s lives. ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ is set in the 1930s in Maycomb County, South America. ‘Great Expectations’ is set in Victorian times, East Anglia, London, Bristol. Both authors have put Boo and Miss Havisham to create mystery and draw in the attention of the reader.

Miss Havisham and Boo are both isolated from the town. Boo is portrayed as evil and quite scary but “when they finally saw him… he was real nice.” This is ironic because he is actually a nice person and this quote shows the irony and is very effective. The author has put this mystery behind Boo to make the reader more interested. This is exactly like Miss Havisham and even though she is one of the main characters, and has a lot of dialogue in the novel she still is quite mysterious. Dickens builds up this mystery through her house and its surroundings. When she calls for Pip, she is thought to be nice and wanting to help him. This is also ironic because she is in actual fact mean and horrible, and corrupts Estella, ‘”I thought you said I have to be mean?”‘ This shows that she has called Pip just to be mean and rude to him, and make him go through the pain she went through. The author has done this to create mystery but also to put a twist in the story and make the reader think why she is doing this. Dickens has done this to again draw in the reader’s attention, and is very effective. He has also done this to make the reader feel hatred towards her, but in a way sorrow as well.

Miss Havisham does not come out of her house because she was stood up on her wedding day at 8:50am, and from that moment onwards has made the town oblivious to her. Boo on the other hand was isolated from the town because he got caught up in a gang and got into trouble, “If the judge released Arthur, Mr. Radley would see to it that Arthur would give no further trouble.” Boo and Miss Havisham never received love from their fathers, although Miss Havisham was not denied a thing from her father, she still never got any love from him.

The citizens of Maycomb have loads of rumors about Boo Radley “Boo drove the scissors into his parents leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities” the rumors done by Harper Lee are to draw in the interest of the reader and like Dickens, leaves the reader wondering. Even though Miss Havisham does not really have any rumors about her, people are still very curious about her background, because she keeps herself to herself. Also no rumors are spread about her because she is very rich. People of Maycomb see Boo as a sort of phantom figure throughout the novel, very much like Miss Havisham in her own town. The author has done this to create mystery and reality, because it shows what people where like in the 1930’s and Victorian Times.

Although Miss Havisham keeps herself to herself she still is a very persuasive person and also very cruel. She is cold hearted and very manipulative. These are the reasons the reader feels hatred for her, it’s the way the author’s style of writing, and is very successful. She is also a bit eccentric, and emotionally unstable, this makes the reader feel sorrow for her, and again the author has done this very well to send through mixed emotions for her. Boo also keeps himself to himself, but for different reasons, because his father isolated him, he now feels uncomfortable and shy around people. Also he does not like being in the light because he has been in the dark most of his life. Unlike Miss Havisham, he is very frightened, it is like he is scared “he whispered in the voice of a child afraid of the dark.” This shows his child like behavior because he never really got to grow up because he was trapped inside the house all day everyday. The author has done this to make the reader feel sorrow towards him and again is the style of Harper Lee and she has done it very well.

Both Boo’s and Miss Havisham’s houses are dull, very dark creating a sort of eerie effect. They both have a type of mystery to them. Boo’s house’s “shutters and doors are always closed” shows how he is isolated not allowed to see anything. Miss Havisham’s house “was of old brick, and dismal, and had a great many iron bars to it.” This shows how she has isolated herself from the town. Boo’s house is “sun blocked by big oak trees” which makes a shadow effect on the house creating again an eerie picture in the readers head. This is lot like Miss Havisham’s house it seems very eerie and lonely and has a sense of rotting it builds up an evil picture and makes the house seem old and haunted. The description the author has done to build up a picture is very descriptive and has a strong effect, “it made a shrill noise in howling in and out at the open sides of the brewery, like the noise of the wind in the rigging of a ship.”

He has used the wind to build up an atmosphere and also creating the feeling of danger and fear in the readers mind. The author has made the house have a sort of sour relish to it ‘”better not try to brew beer there now, or it would turn out sour boy; don’t you think so?”‘ This shows that the house is old and bitter taste to it. Miss Havisham’s house name is ‘Statis’ which means enough. This could stand for a number of things such as the house is enough for her, or she has got enough in that house and does not want anything else. The author has done this to show how Miss Havisham has made herself oblivious to the town. It is just a little story with a loose end. It is the authors style, a certain characteristic where there are a lot of loose ends and they all tie up in the end, and it all makes sense. Harper Lee also has a certain style where she leaves the reader in suspense. Both of these are very effective in their own way.

Boo does not change but, the opinions of him change from Scout and Jem’s point of view “Boo was our neighbour. He gave us two soap doll, a broken watch and chain a pair of good-luck pennies and our lives. But neighbours give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.” This shows how bad scout feels and that she does come to view him differently, but Miss Havisham does actually change and she now feels guilt for what she did to Pip ‘”O!’ she cried, despairingly. ‘What have I done! What have I done!'” this shows that she sees what she had done was wrong and is sorry. The author has done this well in making the reader feel sorrow for her. “‘I want direction and forgiveness far too much.'” This also shows that she has changed in the end and wants Pips forgiveness.

The message the author is trying to put through Miss Havisham is that money can’t buy your love and don’t take your pain out on others, and the author has done this very well in showing the consequences of what happens if you do. And there are many messages that are put through Boo but the main ones that Harper Lee is trying to put through is Boo is symbolised as a mocking bird and ” it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird because all they do is sing their hearts out for you.” This shows the innocence of Boo. The other message she is trying to put through is that “You never really know a man until you step into his shoes and walk around in them.” This shows to never judge a book by its cover! Also never listen to rumors because they’ll always get you into trouble. The author has done this very effectively in showing what might happen if you do listen to rumors and also shown the consequences.

Out of the two characters I find Boo more interesting. This is because he is a phantom figure throughout the novel. I find Miss Havisham weird and strange but not really mysterious. So I think that Harper Lee has succeeded more because Boo does not have much dialogue, he is just talked about a lot and that is why he is more mysterious because it got me thinking when I was reading the novel on weather he was really like that or not.

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