To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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In chapter 20 of To Kill a Mockingbird, what do Dill and Scout learn from Mr. Dolphus Raymond?

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On the surface, the children learn that Dolphus Raymond lies about the true nature of his character. Maycomb has expected differently of Dolphus because he comes from a wealthy family—and he's white. That he would deliberately choose to father children with a black woman is beyond anything white Maycomb social circles can begin to fathom.

Dolphus tries to explain to the children outside the courthouse that he doesn't wish to live in constant conflict with the people in town. He simply wants to live peacefully with his family and friends, just like everyone else. He's therefore developed a false persona for the townspeople that allow them to "blame" his "poor" choices on something they do understand: drunkenness. So, Raymond carries around a paper sack and pretends to sip alcohol from it while staggering around a bit. This alleviates the tension in town as Dolphus plays the part of the town drunk, who can't really be blamed for his "poor" choices in Maycomb. Scout reflects that she "had...

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keudia | Student

that he is not really a drunk as the townspeople believe