According to Randy, what did Bob want from his parents but never get in the novel The Outsiders?

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 7, Randy Adderson has a conversation with Ponyboy where he discusses the life of his friend Bob Sheldon. Randy tells Ponyboy that Bob's parents allowed him to get away with whatever he wanted. Bob essentially had no boundaries or limits, and his parents dismissed his negative behavior. Bob was spoiled rotten, and his parents would take all the blame for his behavior. Randy believes that Bob simply wanted someone to tell him no and enforce a set of rules. Unfortunately, Bob's parents never laid down a set of guidelines for their son to follow, and Bob continued to push his limits. Randy even relates the story of when Bob's parents took the blame and did not punish their son for arriving home in a drunken stupor. According to Randy, Bob wanted to be given a set of limits that he had to obey. 

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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According to Randy, Bob's best friend and confidante, all Bob really just wanted:

"to make someone say 'No' and they never did.  They never did.  That was what he wanted [...] To have somebody lay down the law, set the limits, give him something solid to stand on" (116).

Bob's frustration came from having parents that spoiled him too much.  The reader can easily deduce that Bob's wild behavior resulted from his parents' negligently permissive attitudes.  He tested their limits to see if they cared enough to make him stop.  Randy even references a time when Bob came home extremely drunk to see if his parents would punish him, but they responded by taking the blame for his actions and poor decision making.  Randy speculates that perhaps if Bob's parents would have had a firmer hand in his upbringing then his friend might "might still be alive" (116). 

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bmoore54 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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He wanted someone to care about what he did and tell him no instead of being always told yes.