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Why is Dill crying in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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vgvsdg | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 28, 2009 at 10:21 PM via web

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Why is Dill crying in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 1, 2009 at 2:08 PM (Answer #1)

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In chapter 19 of "To Kill A Mockingbird, the trial is in progress and Atticus is taking the testimoney of Tom Robinson, a 25 year-old black man who is married and has three children.  He is trying to get the history on Tom when Link Deas jumps up and yells out that Tom has worked for him a long time and has never been any trouble at all.  The judge tells Link to sit down and shut up.  After Atticus gets through with his questions the prosecuting attorney begins to ask Tom questions but he talks very badly to him.  He calls him "boy" and insults him.  He is so mean to Tom that Dill gets really upset and starts to cry.  As Scout takes Dill outside for air he says he is really sick and that it is just not right to talk to anyone the way the attorney talked to Tom.

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wwjd | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted March 6, 2009 at 8:31 AM (Answer #2)

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Dill cries at the courthouse because he sees the way that the persecuting attorney talks to Tom Robinson. He speaks to him as though he is unimportant, or even dirty. Dill sees how wrong it is and cries over the injustice of it all.

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mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted November 30, 2014 at 10:30 PM (Answer #3)

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The emotions of the trial are running high for everyone. Everyone in the courtroom are hot and tired, and Tom is on the stand. Atticus does his best to show everyone that there was no way Tom could have done what he was accused of doing. The prosecutor is now getting ready to cross examine Tom.

Jem, Scout and Dill, are all sitting in the balcony with the black people of the town. They have been in the courthouse everyday. The children are so convinced that Atticus is going to get Tom free. When the prosecutor starts drilling Tom, Dill's emotions start to take over. He is just a child, and to see that the prosecutor is being mean to Tom, makes Dill feel so sad for Tom. He breaks down into tears by seeing Tom treated so badly. Scout is aware of this change in Dill.

"For some reason Dill had started crying and couldn't stop, quietly at first, then his sobs were heard by several people in the balcony."

I think it is touching that the children are sitting with the black people and they are the ones who hear Dill's cries. He is showing them that he is full of compassion for this innocent man. 

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