To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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In Chapter 14 of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, what does the audience learn about Dill Harris?

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In Chapter 14, the audience learns about Dill's struggles at home. Following a physical altercation with her brother, Scout steps on something under her bed, only to find out that it is her friend, Dill Harris. Initially, Dill tells Jem and Scout an elaborate story of how he escaped from shackles in a grungy basement before telling them what really happened. Dill then explains to Jem and Scout how he stole $13 from his mother's purse to take the train to Maycomb Junction, walked 11 miles off the highway, and rode the remainder of the way on the back of a cotton wagon. Later that night, Scout asks Dill why he ran away. Dill explains to Scout how his parents are rarely home and that they spend the majority of their time alone in their room. Dill laments that he feels unwanted and tells Scout how his father makes empty promises. Dill believes that his parents have no use for him and is constantly lonely, which is why he ran away. Eventually, he admits to Scout that his parents aren't that mean, and they say "goodnight" and "I love you." The audience learns that Dill has an unhappy home life and seeks affection that his parents won't give him. 

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