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Connor Ruta


Honors English I

24 May 2019

Avoidant Personality Disorder in Boo Radley

Imagine life sheltered inside of your home, never leaving to interact with others. This is

What life is like for people with Avoidant Personality Disorder also known as APD. Avoidant

Personality Disorder causes people to want to be alone and have fewer interactions with others.

Well, that would be Boo Radley in the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Boo Radley

is diagnosed with Avoidant Personality Disorder. Not much is actually known about Boo. People

just make up rumors about him. Boo Radley has Avoidant Personality Disorder because of the

symptoms that he shows which involve being socially inept (Bressert) and self-isolated


One symptom that shows *Boo Radley has APD is self-isolation (Bressert). Some

evidence *to support how Boo has APD is in To Kill a Mockingbird when the kids try to get Boo

to come out of his home, “But by the end of August our repertoire was vapid from countless

reproductions, and it was then that Dill gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out” (Lee

10). That quote shows that Boo Radley is self-isolated because the kids have to try and make him

come out because he never does. Some more evidence is “Dill and Jem were simply going to

peep in the window with the loose shutter to see if they could get a look at Boo Radley, and if I

didn’t want to go with them I could go straight home and keep my fat flopping mouth shut, that

was all” (Lee 69). That quote also shows that the kids have to go up to the window just to get a

look at Boo. for the evidence shown above it proves how Boo Radley is self-isolated because in
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the first quote the kids have an idea to get Boo to come out and if they have to try and make him

come out then that proves that Boo never goes outside so he would be self-isolated. The other

quote proves that Boo is self-isolated because if Dill and Jem have to go up to the window just to

see Boo for the first time and Jem is nine years old at the time then that means Boo Radley hasn’t

gone outside for nine or more years. This symptom can affect many others around him, like

friends and family. Boo’s self-isolation is just one of the symptoms showing that he has APD.

Another symptom showing that Boo has APD is that he is socially inept (“Avoidant”).

Some evidence or proof to show this is when Scout tries to talk to Boo, “He looked down at me

and nodded” (Lee 364). That quote shows that Boo is socially inept because he nods instead of

talking and that is a sign of being socially inept. Another piece of evidence showing that Boo

Radley is socially inept is when he goes up to Jem, “Boo’s hand came up, but he let it drop to his

side” (Lee 372). That quote shows how Boo is socially inept because Boo goes to touch Jem but

just lets his hand go back down to his side, showing that he avoids contact (Bressert). Avoiding

contact is another symptom of APD. This symptom is also serious, it can cause other people

around this person to become a little uncomfortable because they do not know what is going on

with that person. Other people do not think that Boo has APD, they think that he has something

else affecting him.

Despite the evidence demonstrating how Boo Radley has Avoidant Personality Disorder,

many people believe that he is just shy, but they fail to see how Boo only has APD. those who

believe that Boo Radley is shy think so because he spends time alone and doesn’t talk. Although

aspects of this argument are enticing, it ultimately fails to be a strong argument because these

people are ignoring the severity and other symptoms proving that he is more than just shy. Some
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symptoms proving that he has APD and how he is not shy is that he spends all his time alone and

that he never talks which shows that he is socially inept and self-isolated.

Boo Radley has Avoidant Personality Disorder because of the symptoms he shows and

how he acts. APD has a huge impact on others around someone with this disorder. Friends and

family will have a hard time trying to connect with someone diagnosed with APD. One final

observation is that the people who have APD want to be with the people they care about and be

around friends, but APD stops them from doing so. If you know someone with this disorder try

to be there for them.

Works Cited
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“Avoidant Personality Disorder.” WebMD, 24 May. 2019,


Bressert, Steve. “Avoidant Personality Disorder.” PsychCentral, 24 May. 2019,


Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York, Warner Book, inc.,1960.