To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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In chapter 14, why does Dill run away from his home back to Maycomb?

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Sarah Miles eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Poor Dill. Dill is one of the characters in the book that you have true sympathy for. We know from the past chapters that Dill's family life probably isn't the greatest. He goes on and on about how wonderful things are and how special his father is. We don't know very much about the family life of Dill, but we can imagine that it isn't very stable. When he runs away from his home and comes to the Finch's house, he tells Jem and Scout how bad things were at home.

Dill explains that his new step father was supposed to be like a real dad, but his mother and step father didn't want him around. They bought him toys and things, but only to keep him occupied, so they wouldn't have to spend any real quality time with him. Dill decides to run away because of this. 

For so long, Dill had wanted a real family. He longed for a father and was hoping that this was going to be his chance to have one, but this too was not to be. When Dill shows up at Scout's house, we see just how much Atticus, Jem and Scout mean to him. They treat him like he is a part of the family and don't judge him because of his family life. Atticus is good to Dill and I think Dill looks to Atticus as a father figure. Dill has finally found a place that welcomes him and he is thankful for it.

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katemschultz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Dill was originally excited to be staying home for the summer with his new father.  However, Dill runs away and tells Jem and Scout that his parents didn't need him.  They bought him all sorts of toys and other items, but never wanted to spend time with him.  They would tell him to leave them alone and go play with whatever they bought for him.  The simple answer for Dill was to run away--to run away to a place that had felt the most like home for him, the place he felt the most accepted.  For him, that is the Finch house.

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peterli0419 | Student
According to Dill, his stepfather treated him like an animal