In the eyes of the community, what is Dolphus Raymond's problem in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

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 In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee there are many themes and subplots.  One of the main themes is the concept of tolerance and prejudice.  Dolphus Raymond is a minor character that the reader is introduced to in chapter 16.  He is at the court house and the Scout asks Jem why Dolphus acts like he does.  He is drinking out of a bottle inside a sack and Jem explains that he has a Coke bottle filled with whiskey.  Jem says Raymond does it so he won't "offend the ladies."  Jem also explains that Raymond has a black woman and has several inter-racial children. This was not acceptable at this time. Raymond was supposed to marry, but the woman killed herself the day of the wedding and it was thought that she shot herself because she found out about the black woman and all of Raymond's mixed blood children.

"Mr. Dolphus Raymond: a white man who sits with the black people and who has 'a colored woman and all sorts of mixed chillun.'”

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jameadows | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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The community thinks that Dolphus Raymond drinks because he was going to marry a white woman who killed herself, apparently because she found out that he had an African-American mistress. When Scout asks why Dolphus prefers to be with the African-American community, Jem says of Dolphus, “That’s just his way." From an upper-crust white family, Dolphus has mixed-race children. He treats them well and has sent some of his children north.

Dolphus finds Dill, sickened from the unfairness of Tom Robinson's trial, outside the courthouse and offers Dill a drink from a sack. Though Scout thinks Dolphus is giving Dill alcohol, it turns out to be Coca-Cola. Dolphus is not a drunk at all but pretends to be so that, as he says, people will think, "He can’t help himself, that’s why he lives the way he does.” Drinking gives the community a reason why Dolphus prefers to live with African-American people, but in reality, he just prefers to love his African-American wife (probably a common-law wife) and children. 

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