What impact does Dill have on the development of the plot in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

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Perhaps Dill's biggest asset to the plot structure of To Kill a Mockingbird is how he serves, through his own curiosity, to instigate Jem and Scout's own interest in Boo Radley. Before Dill came to visit in Maycomb, Jem and Scout were only mildly interested in their unseen neighbor. It was Dill who dared Jem to touch the house, and it was Dill who suggested the Boo Radley game. By doing so, Jem and Scout became much more interested, and it became a fantasy (especially for Scout) to one day get a look at Boo. Dill's own dysfunctional home life, and the lack of interest that his parents show toward him, help Jem and Scout to see how their own lives have been bettered by Atticus' own parenting. Dill is also important in another big way: Although it is not particularly important to the plot, Dill is Scout's love interest, and she awaits his arrival from Meridian anxiously at the beginning of each summer.