I can’t help but wonder how much of Chris is “nature” and how much is “nurture”. From what I’ve gathered, Barb was abusive in her previous marriage, and had a hoarding problem. Robert was a product of his time, and probably just too old to raise a son in the modern world. There are stories of adults winning millions of dollars, and ending up worse than where they started. I can only imagine what winning a $1,000 shopping spree would do to a kid’s sense of how the world works.
There’s so much foreshadowing, and everything feels inevitable, and yet there are so many variables. What if Barb and Robert were better parents? What if Roach hadn’t locked Chris in that room? What if he’d been sent to that special school? What if he hadn’t won the shopping spree? What if Copyrighted characters had been allowed in the project? What if Robert never paid those girls to pretend to be Chris’ friends?
I feel like the contest was the biggest thing. He took it upon himself to enter the contest, and it probably instilled in him the sense that he was just entitled to succeed at whatever he undertook.