Why does Jem tell Scout not to ask Dill about his father in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

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Jem and Scout quickly made friends with Miss Rachel's new summer guest, her nephew Charles Baker Harris--better known as "Dill." Although Dill was older than Scout, he was much smaller, but he made up for his lack of size with his great stories and his worldliness:

     Dill had seen Dracula, a revelation that moved Jem to eye him with the beginning of respect.

Dill had already told them about his mother, but when Scout asked him about his father, Dill replied,

     "I haven't got one."
     "Is he dead?"

When Scout persisted in her questions about Dill's father, he "blushed." Jem recognized that Dill didn't really want to discuss the subject--Jem often came to tears when he remembered his own dead mother--and he told Scout to

... hush, a sure sign that Dill had been studied and found acceptable.

Jem probably figured that Dill would tell them about his father when he was good and ready, and he didn't want to embarrass their new friend any further. 


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