What do we learn from Dill's account of his running away from home in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Dill is found hiding under Scout's bed after running away from his home in Meridian in chapter 14 of Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. Scout asks Dill why he ran away and she discovers that life with his new step-father hasn't turned out as he had hoped. Once, Dill had told Scout that he and his new dad were going to build a boat, which she asks him about on the night he shows up at her house. He responds by saying, "He just said we would. We never did" (142).
Dill goes on to reveal instances where he has felt lonely and neglected ever since his mother remarried. While Dill's mother has been caught up in her new marriage, she seems to have forgotten her son. For example, Dill says that his mom and step-dad are gone a lot, but when they are home, they seem not to want him around. The central message that Dill receives from his parents' behavior is ". . . they didn't want me with 'em" (143). Unfortunately, Scout learns that Dill would rather be back in Maycomb where he feels loved and wanted rather than live with his mom in Meridian.
We primarily learn that Dill has not lost his knack for telling whoppers over the past two years. The stories concerning his parents are probably all untrue, and only some of the parts about his mode of transportation were probably factual. We also discover that Dill still feels unloved by his parents, preferring to run away back to Maycomb to being ignored at home. As bad as his life may have been, we know that his "new father" did not leave him "bound in chains and left to die in the basement." Likewise, Dill did not exist on "raw field peas" nor did he pull the chains from the wall to escape. His story about joining "a small animal show" and washing the camel is improbable, though Dill later dreams of joining the circus. Dill is angry, hungry and scared, because he believes that his parents
"... do get on a lot better without me, I can't help them any."
He tells Scout that he wants to get a baby with her, knowing that they will be better and more loving parents than his own.
We learn that his father is very abusive and that his parents don't really care about him because they are always in their bedroom.