Dolphus Raymond is one of the most complex and contradictory characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. Although he only appears occasionally in the novel, Raymond’s status as a misfit in Maycomb reveals the deceptions in which individuals might feel compelled to engage if they wished to continue living in a segregated, racist Southern town. Because he is well-to-do and his family history is well-known in Maycomb, most of the town’s white people tolerate Raymond’s eccentric behavior even though they disapprove of it. Raymond is a white man who was widowed, and for many years has been in a long-term relationship with a black woman, with whom he has several children. In that era, there were laws against interracial marriage or “miscegenation.” Raymond shows kindness when he goes out of his way to help Dill when he overhears him talking with Scout outside the courtroom.
Because he understands that many people in Maycomb are seeking excuses for what they regard as unusual behavior, he has created the impression that he is an alcoholic. He allows people to continue thinking this, knowing that they are seeking reasons for what they regard as otherwise inexplicable behavior: being married, in every way but under the law, to an African American woman. When he finds Dill struggling with his emotions over the prejudice he witnessed in the courtroom, he lets the children in on his secret as a way to help them understand how adults may cope with everyday racism.