In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout says that "Mr. Dolphus Raymond was an evil man." Is she right?

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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No, Scout was wrong. In fact, by chapter 20-21, she learns that Mr. Dolphus Raymond was far from evil. He was, in fact, very considerate of the white community around him.

The town's perception was that Raymond must have been evil because he preferred the Negro people as opposed to his own race. The white majority of Maycomb citizens created stories about him. He allowed and even perpetuated the story that he was drunk all the time. He drank Coca-Cola out of a brown sack and this made people believe that he was actually drinking whiskey. He confessed to Scout and Dill that he would sway a little bit here and there and it helped give the town a reason to accept his preference for the Negro people. He must have been drunk.

Scout indeed learned that her initial perception of Mr. Raymond was not true. He actually had a heart and a care for others. This is what made his action appear as they did.

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mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Scout Finch is a very precocious young girl. She says whatever is on her mind and it usually ends up getting her into trouble. She thinks that Mr. Dolphus Raymond is evil, because he is a white man that lives with the black community. He is also known for being a drunk, because he is seen in town with a brown paper bag and drinking from it all day. It said that he is drinking whiskey.

Scout is very misinformed with most of her information. She is very misinformed when it comes to Mr. Raymond. He tells Scout and Dill that he pretends to be an alcoholic. He actually drinks coke from the paper bag and stumbles around a bit so people will think he is a drunk. He just likes living the way he does and where he does. He is a very kind and caring man. He cares for his neighbors and most people. Scout learns a great lesson in this. She and the rest of the town need to stop judging people before they know the whole truth.

Mr. Raymond is not evil, far from it. He is one of the people in town that truly cares for his fellow man. He is kind and Scout learns this. She realizes that she has misjudged him and is grateful to learn the truth. 

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price7781 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Like most small towns where everyone knows one another, rumors seem to spread fast and often don’t have any substantial evidence to prove them. Boo is an example of how the rumors surrounding him affect who Jem and Scout think he is. He is not a “malevolent phantom” as Scout calls him, but a kind, lonely man who has had a difficult life. The same types of rumors swirl around town about Dolphus Raymond. Because Dolphus Raymond prefers to spend his time with the black community instead of the white community, his actions are seen as “evil.” Raymond also has a black mistress and has fathered mixed-race children. In order to be able to navigate the white community without too much harassment, Raymond pretends to be an alcoholic. It gives the Maycomb community a reason for his “evil” behavior with a black woman. Maycomb is able to pass off his taboo behavior to alcoholism rather than trying to understand why he is so open and accepting of blacks in Maycomb.

Dolphus Raymond is actually someone who is very interested in the outcome of the Tom Robinson trial and comes to watch the proceedings. His involvement in the black community seems to be more than just for personal reasons and shows his concern for injustices in the community.

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