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

Posted December 31, 2014 at 8:58 PM (Answer #4)

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The tension is high in the room for everyone and even though the children come to understand that Tom will be wrongfully thrown into prison, they hope the others can see the truth and the justice. When they hear the verdict, Dill can't take it anymore because similar to the children, they uphold strong morals and believe in justice just as much as Atticus and feel upset that something like this happened. 

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jess1999 | Student, Grade 9 | TA | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 28, 2015 at 12:21 AM (Answer #5)

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As the trial of Tom Robinson went on, things started getting tenser and tenser. As Mr Gilmer starts rudely questioning Robinson, that's when Dill could not take it anymore and had to be brought outside. This part is actually really significant. It shows the innocence that Dill had. He did not understand why Mr Gilmer would talk rudely towards Robinson, he did not understand why there was prejudice going on towards people of different races. When Scout told Dill that it was OK for Robinson to be treated like that "because after all he was a Negro." Dill replied though stating that "I don't care one speck. It ain't right, somehow it ain't right to do 'em that way. Hasn't anybody got any business talkin' like that-it just makes me sick" (Ch 19). This really shows how Scout who grew up around townsfolk who were racists towards African Americans wasn't disturbed while Dill who wasn't exposed to this racism couldn't handle it.

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