In To Kill a Mockingbird, should Boo Radley have been sent to the institution with the rest of the boys?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Boo Radley would have clearly fared better if he had been sent to the state industrial school because there he would have received a good education and he would have had an opportunity to have found a job and lived a normal life.

The tragic tale of Boo Radley's youth occurs in the exposition of Harper Lee's novel, in which Scout as narrator introduces the reader to her neighborhood. Apparently, the Radleys and their two sons have been extremely reclusive for years. According to Miss Stephanie Crawford, the "neighborhood scold," a teen-aged Boo Radley associated with the Cunninghams from Old Sarum, "an enormous and confusing tribe...the nearest thing to a Maycomb," and they caused a disturbance one night in town. The constable brought the boys before the judge on charges of disorderly conduct, assault and battery, and disturbing the peace. So, the judge ruled that the boys should go to the state industrial school. As Miss Stephanie recounts, "It was no prison and no disgrace." But, Mr. Radley believed it to be a disgrace, indeed, so he petitioned the judge to release his son to him, promising the judge that Boo would give no further trouble; knowing that Mr. Radley would keep his word, the judge released Boo to his father. Since that day, Boo has remained indoors as a prisoner in his own home, while the Cunninghams received "the best secondary education to be had in the state," and one of them even went on to engineering school in Auburn.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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