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I helped those innocent children, Mr. Ewell is the real madman….

Why does mrs. Mauddie persist in calling me – why do they abide in calling me Arthur ? Arthur is not my name. It’s my birth name yes,however Arthur is a man’s name. I am not a man. I gave up my identity when I ran from this world many a time ago, now only to be comforted by my own castle occludent within my home. Atticus Finch will tell you that I became a mockingbird. He is wrong. No mockingbird is afraid to come out and sing in the light of day. A mockingbird does not shrink in fear from the burning rays of the sun and live out its days cowering in lonely darkness! I am no mockingbird.

You think I am mad. You are wrong. Why must you think that I am some insane madman confined as such due to my involuntary actions in the past? Is it now so a norm to divert from the truth and assume? True, I hide myself from the world, and crouch in lowly misery, but I have self-control, just as you do. I am no madman.

I did lose control of myself once, once only! Do not ask me what happened, I do not know! Do not accuse me of being violent, hazardous, I am not one to fear! I did not know what it was I did that day. I was cutting newspaper, and my father walked by…. It’s a blurry harrowing dream every moment I try to recall it. All I envision are the gleaming red eyes and looks of this star crossed town whispering and hissing different stories and takes on what happened.

True, I am not mad, but I am not like you are either. I refuse to tolerate the prejudice, injustice and pettiness of this world. I come out only at night, to watch Maycomb sleep, for it is then that these people will put aside their hatred, their bitterness, and their fear, and rest. As I see the peaceful faces, I see their dreams as well. Mayella Ewell dreams of Tom Robinson. Mrs. Dubose has nightmares. The children—Jem, Dill, Scout—they sleep dreamlessly, no guilt troubles those young hearts. The Negroes dream of freedom. This is the gift that has come with my inhumanity, the ability to see dreams as the night watcher of the country , but it is oftentimes more a curse than a gift, for dreams are hope, and the hope of the people of Maycomb springs from sadness and despair.

I do not like these words, this language of writing. Letters are so clumsy, so hard to use. Slowly, laboriously, I taught myself to read and write, and to speak, but still these words are so difficult. I try to tell you my story, but these words do not fit. I try. I need them to tell you, to let you understand me if you are able.

Atticus Finch could not understand me. He did not know why a mockingbird would lock itself in its own cage, but the answer was right there in front of him. The bars of a cage keep it’s inhabitant in, but they also keep the world out. It is safe behind bars. The cruelty of the world cannot touch me here. That is why I first retreated into my cage, locking the door behind me, to keep the world out, to create a safe haven for myself. Now, so many dark years later, I wish that I could unlock that door, but the Fates do not unravel their tapestry.

Only once did I let my heart rule my mind, and try as I might I cannot regret it. I heard two children walking, and one set of footsteps following them. When I went out onto the open ever twisting like road, Jem was screaming and Mr Ewell had detained him. He then dropped Jem to the ground and dashed over to scout in an lewd attempt to pick her up to proceed with his doing, with his desperate, alcoholic possessed body. Yet before I knew it, as if it was the same involuntary action that took place many a years ago, I stabbed him- he was laying face down onto the side of the road and would be drowning in his own pool of demons blood if he had not already died. A blade was cemented into the pit of Mr. Ewell’s stomach however the murder I just committed didn’t cross my mind once as I placed the value of these kids lives above all else. They were my friends, my play pals, they were part of my life.

I picked up the boy, his broken arm bent the wrong way and swinging like an erratic pendulum, and began to carry him toward his house. My arms began to burn from his weight, for it had been many long years since I had the need for physical strength, but I did not allow them to give in.

I brought the boy inside, and gave him to what seemed to be his father.

Now I am reading it to you, to the children of Maycomb, so many years later. I am old now, old and dying. My days grow fewer, and someone must know my story. I have entrusted it to you. It is yours now, every word of it, every pain-filled moment, every endless lonely day. Cherish it, forget it, disregard it, do with it what you will, but remember this.

I am Boo Radley, I said, not Arthur.

Why?

Because Boo is no name for a man.

Boo is my name.

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