Thoughts on Dill and Lying in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?In "To Kill a Mockingbird", why does Dill lie so much?  Why do you think this?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Thoughts on Dill and Lying in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

In "To Kill a Mockingbird", why does Dill lie so much?  Why do you think this?

Sometimes Dill lies out of shame. He is ashamed about his family background. When Scout tries to pin Dill down about Dill's father, Dill says he has no father. Scout keeps pushing, asking if Dill's father is dead. Dill's reaction is to blush. At that point, Jem tells Scout to be quiet, essentially to leave Dill alone in regard to the subject of his family. Being older, Jem realizes that Dill is uncomfortable and embarrassed.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Dill knows that others suspect he isn't telling the truth.  They feign interest while they are calling home to check on him with his mother.  Dill also knows that while lying may get him a little more time in Maycomb, it won't keep him there since the Finchs don't make any room for those who are not in line with their idea of truth and justice.

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Dill is a common young man suffering from neglect.  Although he has everything he needs to grow physically, he does not get much attention at home.  He is sent off in the summers to live with his aunt by a mother who does not show much interest in him.  He lies for two reasons:  1) he wants a better life than he believes he has; and 2) he wants attention.  He concocts stories to have others listen to him and show interest in him. 

When Dill runs away from home and hids under Scout's bed, this truth about him becomes clear.  He first lies and says that his new step-father abuses him.  If this lie is true, then Dill can stay in Maycomb, where he lives a better life and gets more attention.  Also, telling this story gets him both attention and concern from the adults.

However, Dill finally admits that this story isn't true.  He was simply angry that his mother seemed to have no time for him, and ran away to Maycomb in anger and looking for friends.

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