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In Chapter 16 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Mr. Dolphus Raymond is evidently a complicated...

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savannah-topper | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 11, 2011 at 12:43 AM via web

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In Chapter 16 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Mr. Dolphus Raymond is evidently a complicated and interesting person. Describe his way of life and comment on its effect upon the town.

 

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 11, 2011 at 1:39 AM (Answer #1)

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To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee has managed to create a complex and interesting man in the very minor character of Dolphus Raymond. Raymond is a wealthy white man who prefers living and sharing in the company of Negroes--a trait that is sure to make him an outcast in 1930s Maycomb. Raymond was apparently set to marry "one of the Spencer ladies," but when his fiance found out that Raymond had a black mistress,

"... the bride went upstairs and blew her head off. Shotgun. She pulled the trigger with her toes."

According to Jem, Raymond has several "mixed" children, who

"he's real good to... They don't belong anywhere. Colored folks won't have 'em because they're half-white; white folks won't have 'em 'cause they're colored... He's shipped two of his up north. They don't mind 'em up north."

Consequently, Raymond is scorned by the white community, and he is believed to be both mentally unstable and a drunk. However, when Scout and Dill visit him during a break in the Tom Robinson trial, Raymond reveals a secret to them: The bottle from which he drinks (partially hidden and disguised in a paper bag) does not contain whiskey; it is merely Coca-Cola. When Scout asks him why he would "deliberately perpetrate fraud against himself," Raymond tells them that

"Some folks don't--like the way I live... if I weave a little and drink out of this sack, folks can say Dolphus Raymond's in the clutches of whiskey--that's why he won't change his ways. He can't help himself, that's why he lives the way he does."

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