In To Kill a Mockingbird, what did Dolphus Raymond mean when he said, "You little folks won't tell on me now, will you?...""... It'd ruin my reputation if you did." To Kill a Mockingbird ch. 20

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Dolphus Raymond is actually proud of his reputation as being one of Maycomb's leading eccentrics. Rumor has it that the paper bag he carries with a bottle inside actually disguises the whiskey that he drinks, and Dolphus does nothing to discourage folks' opinions about him. He actually weaves about deliberately to further strenghthen the validity of the rumor. However, when he meets up with Dill and Scout outside the courthouse, he decides to share his little secret with his innocent young friends. When Dolphus offers Dill a sip from the bottle to "settle your stomach," he seems to take "delight in corrupting a child." Scout cautions him.

"Dill, you watch out now," I warned.

But Dill quickly discovered the real truth.

Dill released the straws and grinned. "Scout, it's nothing but Coca-Cola."

Dolphus made them promise not to reveal his secret, and when Scout asked him why he performed this "sinful" act to create a less-than-honest impression, Dolphus answered that

"I try to give 'em a reason, you see... they could never, never understand that I live like I do because that's the way I want to live."

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