What are characteristics or qualities of Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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price7781 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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When Dill comes to Maycomb at the beginning of the novel, he is eager to please and make friends.  He tells tall tales and brags about his life when he says he has seen Dracula and is only seven but can read.  He is a humorous, sensitive child and a follower.  Dill is Jem’s sidekick in the games they play and the trouble they get in.  Dill, however, can be quite adventurous when he dares Jem to touch the Radley house, something Jem does to prove himself.  Dill also lies for Jem when Jem is caught without his pants by Atticus.  Dill tells Atticus that Jem lost his pants in a game of strip poker when, in actuality, Jem left his torn pants on the fence at the Radley place.

Dill’s home life in Mississippi is pretty sad.  Dill’s mother has shipped Dill off to Maycomb to stay with relatives because she doesn’t have time for him.  Dill talks about his father to Jem and Scout building him up to be greater than Atticus.  When Dill runs away from home to Maycomb, he admits to Jem and Scout that his father doesn’t care about him and that he is neglected.  Dill tells Jem and Scout that his father chained him up in the basement which is another lie Dill tells to get sympathy.  He wins the respect of Jem and Scout, and they become fast friends.

Dill is somewhat of an outsider looking in at Maycomb, since he is not from the area and doesn’t know anyone.  He feels he has to prove himself to Scout and Jem, and he does that by over exaggerating his life and lying a lot.  He, however, is a unique child who is imaginative, funny, and the perfect friend for Jem and Scout. 

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