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What sort of person is Dolphus Raymond in To Kill a Mockingbird? (Chapter 16)

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mnyman94 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 28, 2008 at 10:32 PM via web

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What sort of person is Dolphus Raymond in To Kill a Mockingbird? (Chapter 16)

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dtvest | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:39 AM (Answer #1)

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Dolphus Raymond is one of Harper Lee's white characters in To Kill A Mockingbird.  He drinks from a bottle covered by a paper bag to give the impression to fellow white southerners that he is a drunk, a morally weak man.  However, as Dill discovers when he takes a sip, the man actually drinks coca-cola from the bag.  His purpose for appearing to be a drunk is to excuse himself in the eyes of his white peers for being married to a black woman and fathering racially mixed children.  In the time period of the novel, nothing could have been lower than a white man openly consorting with a black woman.  Actually, he is simply a white man who has been beaten down by life, losing his wife years earlier, and he is too weak to stand up for his beliefs on race.

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

Posted November 29, 2008 at 12:34 AM (Answer #2)

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If you are only to chapter 16, you only know half of Dolphus Raymond's story. He seems to be a person who is on the lower-edge of society, in the eyes of most Maycomb-ites. He is a wealthy man--he owns a lot of land by the river. However, his first wife killed herself and the town blames that for Dolphus' constant state of drunkenness. They also blame his lifestyle of being drunk--he lives with the black folks, and has mixed children with a black woman. Jem notices Dolphus going to town during the trial and tells this information to Scout, saying that Dolphus can't even sit up straight in his saddle.

However, there is more to Dolphus Raymond and the children learn this during the trial.

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evanescenceinthedark | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted December 1, 2009 at 6:49 AM (Answer #3)

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He has "in-between children" with a black person. He is often drunk, and (according to Jem) drinks whiskey from a coca-cola bottle in a paper bag so he doesn't upset the ladies. His first wife shot herself in the head on the rehearsal wedding day, when she found out that he had children with a black person. Dolphus figured he could get married and still see his black woman (IDK her name at the moment).

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melissazamora7 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted October 1, 2012 at 1:11 PM (Answer #4)

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He first presents himself to be a drunk because he hides his whiskey in a paper bag so he doesn’t "upset the ladies". He likes the Black community more than he likes the white. And Jem also says that he is very good to his children.


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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | TA | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted December 24, 2014 at 10:47 PM (Answer #6)

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He acts like he is drunk but in reality he is drinking some coca cola from his bottle. His wife died year ago and he has a racially mixed child. Back in those days it was bad to "mix races" and since many people were racist, they looked down upon those who were nice to the African Americans. He is stuck in a hole where he can neither be normal and life his life, nor conform to the evils of society. He is simply a man beaten by life.

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nadinemankal | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 3, 2012 at 5:40 AM (Answer #5)

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it is the book

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