Mr. Dolphus Raymond is evidently a complicated and interesting person. Describe his way of life and comment on its affect upon the town.  To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mr. Dolphus Raymond, who lives outside the society of other whites and blacks, as well, acts somewhat like the Chorus of a Greek Play.  In Chapter 20 of To Kill a Mockingbird, the reader discerns a part of human nature that lies below the social codes that are taught.  Mayella Ewell has done the unspeakable:  she has kissed a black man, and an evil side of man has been exposed in the testimony of Bob Ewell.  Realizing that this evil has been exposed, Atticus Finch tries to appeal to the morality of the jury in his closing arguments in spite of Link Deas's validation of the character of Tom Robinson having been silenced as the judge calls for the removal of Deas  from the court, even though he does nothing to mitigate the racial prejudice that permeates the proceedings.

Outside the courtroom, Mr. Raymond acts as a Chorus to be the moral mirror of the drama within.  For, his behavior, albeit outside the social code, too, is not immoral; nevertheless, he is scorned.  He simply prefers the company of the blacks because he finds white people too hypocritical and one-sided in their thinking.  Since it is against social mores to live with blacks and have children who are mixed, Mr. Dolphus Raymond  mocks the townspeople's hypocrisy by pretending to be a drunkard as he carries around a Coca-Cola in a brown wrapper.  Like the jurors in the courtroom, the townspeople who see Mr. Raymond are satisfied and content if they can maintain the status quo by rationalizing the eccentric behavior of Mr. Dolphus and by condemning him as a drunk.  As in the courtroom in which Judge Taylor does not address what is at the core of the problem, the townspeople cover the social rebellion of Mr. Raymond with a label. 

Only children will cry, Mr. Dolphus tells Dill and Jem and Scout; only children will cry at an injustice.  For, he knows too well the social mores must remain intact even if it means fabricating evidence against a man.  Like the Chorus of an ancient play, Mr. Dolphus Raymond comments upon the morality of the actors in the play of the courtroom of Macomb, Alabama. 

Just as the court refuses to accept the undeniable implications of the evidence in Tom's trial, so does it refuse the implications of the way of life that Mr. Raymond Dolphus has chose and the reasons he has made this choice.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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