In To Kill a Mockingbird, describe Dill. Why has he come to Maycomb?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Dill Harris, who is modeled after Harper Lee's childhood friend and suspected co-author,Truman Capote, is diminutive and rather "a curiosity"as Scout remarks when she introduces him in the first chapter,

He wore blue linen shorts that buttoned to his shirt, his hair was snow white and stuck to his head like duckfluff; he was a year my senior but I towered over him....his blue eyes would lighten and darken; his laugh was sudden and happy; he habitually pulled at a cowlick in the center of his forehead. 

Dill is a sensitive boy without his father; his mother sends him on the train from Meridian, Mississippi, to stay with the Finches' neighbor, Miss Rachel, who is his aunt. With Scout and Jem, he loves to role play, and he enjoys speculating about Boo Radley. One time, he dares Jem to go on the Radley porch and leave a note for Boo, but Mr. Radley hears Jem and appears n the porch with his rifle.

In Chapter 14, Dill runs away from home and sneaks into the Finch home where he hides under the bed of Scout. He explains to the Finch children how he arrived by saying that he was first bound in chains and left in the basement by his new father, who dislikes him. Then, Dill freed himself from the chains, and he went to work for a passing animal show.

Obviously imaginative, Dill is also a very sensitive boy. When Mr. Gilmer drills Tom, accusing him of lying. As Dill begins to cry, Scout walks him out of the courtroom. Mr. Dolphus Raymond comes over and comments, "Things haven't caught up to that one's instinct yet." He notes that things will not seem right, but Dill will not cry."

"Cry about what , Mr. Raymond?" Dill asks.

"Cry about the simple hell people give other people--without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give colored folks, without ever stopping to think that they're people, too."

Dill and Scout, then, return to the courtroom only to see Calpurnia coming after them.

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