What do you think Atticus meant when he told the children there are other ways to turn people into ghosts?

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In Chapter 1, Scout is explaining the various rumors about the "malevolent phantom," Boo Radley. Miss Stephanie Crawford tells Jem that Boo Radley stabbed his father's leg using a pair of scissors at the age of thirty-three. The county suggested that they send Boo to an asylum located in Tuscaloosa, but Mr. Radley refused to let Boo go. According to the rumor, Boo was locked in the county's courthouse basement until he was moved back into his home. Jem believes that Mr. Radley kept Boo chained up to the bed most of the time, and Scout says, "Atticus said no, it wasn't that sort of thing, that there were other ways of making people into ghosts." (Lee 14) Atticus was referring to the various forms of intimidation Mr. Radley used to keep Boo secluded. Verbal threats more than likely were utilized by Mr. Radley to strike fear in his son. Atticus compares Boo to a ghost because he is never seen. It is suggested that Boo suffers from a mental disorder, and Mr. Radley deprives his son from social interactions. Forcing Boo to stay inside the house is a form of abuse in and of itself. Any person heartless enough to keep their child locked inside a house is capable of other types of abuse.

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