What are Dolphus Raymond's persnality traits in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

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Dolphus Raymond is one of the most unusual characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. A descendant of an old and wealthy family, Dolphus owns land along the river, and he is (was?) a planter (Tom Robinson's arm injury came while working with one of Dolphus's cotton gins). Scout admires his English riding boots (the only ones she has ever seen) and his smell--"of leather, horses, cottonseed." He has a sordid past: His fiance committed suicide just before their wedding day after finding out that Dolphus had a Negro mistress. According to Jem,

"... he never got over his weddin'. He was supposed to marry one of the--the Spencer ladies... after the rehearsal the bride went upstairs and blew her head off. Shotgun. She pulled the trigger with her toes...
"They said it was because she found out about his colored woman, he reckoned he could keep her and get married, too. He's been sorta drunk ever since."

Following his disastrous wedding day, Dolphus returned to his home "near the county line." He kept his black mistress and they produced "all sorts of mixed chillun."

Despite his lineage, Dolphus is considered "trash" by some of Maycomb's residents. He prefers the company of Negroes, and he is scorned by most of Maycomb's white population. Scout worries that Atticus would disapprove of her "listening to this sinful man," who enjoyed "taking delight in corrupting a child," but she nevertheless finds him "fascinating." A man with an obvious sense of humor, Dolphus deliberately pretends to be a drunk: He weaves around town with a bottle hidden inside a paper sack, which everyone in town believes to be whiskey. The children discover his secret when Dolphus reveals to Scout and Dill that the bottle is only Coca-Cola. Dolphus explains that he does so to give the townspeople who despise him a reason to latch onto--a reason for his evil ways. But Dolphus has his serious side: He refuses to attend the trial because he knows what the outcome will be, and he cries

"... about the simple hell white people give colored folks, without even stopping to think that they're people, too."


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