What was Dolphus Raymond's role in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird?

Dolphus Raymond's role in To Kill a Mockingbird shows the complexities of living in a racially divided society from the point of view of a white man who intentionally integrates himself into Maycomb's black culture. His words also foreshadow the trial's outcome based on his knowledge of the racial conflicts in Maycomb.

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Dolphus Raymond's role in To Kill a Mockingbird is to provide additional social commentary on Maycomb's prejudiced society, which contributes to the authenticity of the story and enhances Scout 's perspective on her community. Although Dolphus Raymond hails from a wealthy family, he is viewed with contempt by his prejudiced...

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Dolphus Raymond's role in To Kill a Mockingbird is to provide additional social commentary on Maycomb's prejudiced society, which contributes to the authenticity of the story and enhances Scout's perspective on her community. Although Dolphus Raymond hails from a wealthy family, he is viewed with contempt by his prejudiced neighbors and treated as an outcast in Maycomb's society because he openly associates with black people. Dolphus has several biracial children and prefers to remain in the company of Maycomb's black community, which is considered taboo in the small town. In chapter 20, Dolphus overhears Dill crying and gives him a sip of his Coca-Cola to settle his stomach.

The children are shocked to discover that there is not whiskey in Dolphus's brown bag, and Dolphus proceeds to tell them his secret. Dolphus admits that he feigns alcoholism to help folks "latch onto a reason" for his unorthodox behavior. He recognizes that his neighbors do not approve of his lifestyle but refuses to change his ways. In order to avoid confrontation, Dolphus pretends to be an alcoholic. Dolphus's actions and reasoning may seem strange, but they contribute to Harper Lee's social commentary on the Deep South and Maycomb's community. Unlike Atticus, Dolphus does not overtly stand up for what he believes but relies on subterfuge to exercise his independence. His comments on the trial and astonishing secret also enhance Scout's perspective on her community.

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While most of Maycomb's citizens prove themselves to be racist through their views of Atticus's work in proving Tom's innocence, Dolphus Raymond represents another facet of their white society.

Earlier in his life, Dolphus was engaged to be married to a white woman. According to the rumors Jem passes on to Scout, his soon-to-be-bride found out that he was having an affair with a black woman and killed herself. This is especially shocking since Dolphus was from a "real old family," a social standing which people like Aunt Alexandra value.

Later in chapter 20 when the children actually have a chance to talk to Dolphus, they are shocked to learn that he isn't the town drunk he pretends to be. He explains to Scout and Jem that he actually prefers the company of black people, but Maycomb could never understand this. Instead of just saying "the hell with 'em," Dolphus tries to give everyone a reason to explain his choices, which white Maycomb would find otherwise impossible to explain:

It helps folks if they can latch onto a reason. When I come to town, which is seldom, if I weave a little and drink out of this sack, folks can say Dolphus Raymond’s in the clutches of whiskey—that’s why he won’t change his ways. He can’t help himself, that’s why he lives the way he does.

Giving people this "reason" to explain his otherwise unfathomable choices ultimately makes things easier for Dolphus and his family to build a life in Maycomb—at least until the children get a little older and head to the North. Dolphus is willing to sacrifice facets of his own reputation in order to live the way he wants and avoiding constant conflict for his choices.

His role in the novel shows Scout that there are people who will deliberately perpetrate fraud against their own character in order to find a bit of peace and uphold a greater goal. Because he understands the complexities of their white society, he also delivers an ominous line to Scout as they part company:

You haven’t even seen this town, but all you gotta do is step back inside the courthouse.

Dolphus knows the way this trial will end because he has seen the ugliest side of their town. His words foreshadow the ultimate decision the all-white jury will therefore reach.

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Dolphus Raymond is a minor character in the novel, who contributes to Scout's maturation and perspective on her racist community. Dolphus Raymond is a relatively wealthy white man, who is treated as an outcast in his community because he openly associates with black people and has several bi-racial children. In order to avoid conflict and constant questioning regarding his taboo lifestyle, Dolphus feigns alcoholism by drinking Coca-Cola out of a brown paper bag and acting drunk. In chapter 20, he overhears Dill crying about Mr. Gilmer's unfair treatment of Tom Robinson and offers him a sip of Coca-Cola from his bag. After telling Scout and Dill his secret regarding why he feigns alcoholism, he tells the children that the older they get, the more accustom they will become to witnessing racial injustice until it no longer hurts them. Dolphus's character is also a symbolic mockingbird, who is harmless and vulnerable to his prejudiced neighbors. Overall, Dolphus's character contributes to Scout's maturation, he is another character who suffers at the hands of his racist neighbors, and he emphasizes the harmful effects of prejudice.

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In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the character, Dolphus Raymond, has a somewhat small but very important role. The townspeople think he's a drunk because he's often seen sipping something they assume is alcohol from a bottle hidden inside a paper bag. He is from a wealthy white family but lives in the African American neighborhood with a black woman and their children. By being "drunk," Mr. Raymond is able to avoid the questions that are bound to come his way under normal circumstances, and his "drunkenness" makes it easier for the folks of Maycomb to understand why he chooses to live the way he does. In other words, the townspeople think he does what he does because he's a drunk. In reality, he does what he does because he prefers living where he does. His eyes are wide open to the prejudice that surrounds him. We find out later in the book that he's actually just drinking Coca-Cola and is not a drunk at all. He teaches Scout and Dill that sometimes, in order to have what you want, you have to pretend to be someone or something other than the person you really are.

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