Contrast Dill's home life with Scout's in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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

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There are few similarities between the home lives of Scout and Dill. Dill comes from a broken home: His mother has apparently divorced Dill's father and later remarries, providing Dill with a "new father." Dill's mother "worked for a photographer in Meridian," and she apparently spends little time with her son. Dill sees his real father occasionally, but it is difficult to determine fact from fiction when it comes to Dill's tall tales about his fathers. It is obvious that Dill is often upset about the treatment he receives from his parents. Though he admits that they "buy me everything I want," he feels neglected and unloved. The fact that he is shipped off to Maycomb each summer to live with his Aunt Rachel and "gets passed around from relative to relative" is proof that his home life is unstable. His summers spent in Maycomb prove to be the best of times for Dill, where he is able to both observe and receive the companionship and love of Jem and, especially, Scout, as well as bearing witness to Atticus's fatherly ways.

Scout and Jem at first envy Dill, who has traveled extensively and regularly sees motion pictures in the relatively big city of Meridian, Mississippi. But they soon come to pity his life back in Meridian, and the Finch siblings take Dill under their wing. Though their mother is dead, Calpurnia still rules with an iron fist and a hand that "was wide as a bed slat and twice as hard." Dill and Scout have neighborhood boundaries which they must observe, but Atticus provides them with more independence than most children received, and he teaches them primarily by setting an exemplary example himself. A busy attorney and state legislator, Atticus still finds time to spend with his children each day and reading to Scout each night. He answers their questions honestly, even when they are about subjects such as rape, and by doing so, he hopes that

"... Jem and Scout will come to me for there answers instead of listening to the town. I hope they trust me enough..." (Chapter 9)

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