To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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What solution does Atticus offer to the problem of Dill's presence in To Kill a Mockingbird? (Chapter 14)

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It is understandably with some surprise that Scout and Jem discover Dill hidden underneath the bed in Chapter 14 of this great novel. Given the way that he had left without his mother's knowledge, taking money from her purse and travelling by himself all the way from Meridian to Maycomb Junction then walking the remaining distance to Maycomb itself, catching a ride on the back of the truck for the last section, Jem and Scout feel they have to tell Atticus about his presence. Although Dill is afraid of what Atticus will say, his response reflects his customary calmness and humour:

Nobody's going to make you go anywhere but to bed pretty soon. I'm just going over to tell Miss Rachel you're here and ask her if you could spend the night with us--you'd like that, wouldn't you? And for goodness' sake put some of the county back where it belongs, the soil erosion's bad enough as it is.

Scout is forced to translate for Dill. Atticus is asking him to take a bath. Thus Atticus responds without getting angry or annoyed, and is merely amused by the presence of Dill and the fact that he has ran away.

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