Jem's description of Boo Radley

Jem gave a reasonable description of Boo: Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that’s why his hands were blood-stained – if you ate an animal raw, you could never wash the blood off. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time.

– Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 1. While Boo Radley isn’t seen outside his house until the end of the novel, Jem is able to provide a most fantastical description of him based on local gossip and prejudice and a child’s imagination. The invisible Boo becomes the Maycomb Boogieman, a monster straight out of a gothic horror story that children are afraid of. The idea of Boo as being a kindly, innocent and vulnerable man has not yet dawned on them at this early stage of the story.