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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dill’s home life contrasts with Scout and Jem’s life.  Dell is known for telling whoppers, because his own life is nothing to brag about.  He is described as a “curiosity” and is larger and life because he is starved for attention.  His father is absent and his mother ships him off to live with his aunt.

When Scout asks Dill about his father, he only says he’s not dead and blushes when Scout presses him.  He invents elaborate stories about his father that Scout points out are contradictory.

When Scout finds Dill under her bed one evening, the truth comes out.  His mother and her new husband are no longer interested in him.

“That wasn’t it, he—they just wasn’t interested in me.”

This was the weirdest reason for flight I had ever heard. “How come?”

“Well, they stayed gone all the time, and when they were home, even, they’d get off in a room by themselves.” (Ch 14)

Scout tells him that he doesn’t really want his parents around all the time, and Dill tells her that they buy him whatever he wants but seem to use it as an excuse to keep him busy.

In a lot of ways, the Finches are Dill’s real family.


Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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