How much of Boo's situation is Mr. Radley's fault in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think Boo's father deserves most of the blame for how his son turned out. Boo's arrest with the Cunningham boys was a typical teen prank gone awry, and the rest of the boys benefited from their stay at the state industrial school. But Boo's father would not allow what he considered an embarrassing punishment, and he decided to impose one of his own: confinement within the Radley House. He repeated his actions after Boo attacked him with a pair of scissors, evidence that Boo had become more violent and less stable. Old Mr. Radley apparently never sought medical treatment for Boo's deteriorating mental state--again, preferring to hide the problem within the family home's walls--and following his death, arrangements were made for Boo's brother, Nathan, to take over as Boo's guardian. There is no evidence that Boo's unusual behavior and reclusiveness occurred before being shut up inside his own house, so most of his problems can be traced to his father's decision to self-impose house arrest upon his own son.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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