To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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In "To Kill a Mockingbird", in what ways is Dill considered a "mockingbird"? I am stuck on this question. My essay topic is "what mockingbirds can you identify in the novel?" and i already have two down, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley, but i cannot think of how Dill is a mockingbird, please help or maybe suggest another character i could use instead of Dill.

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dbrooks22 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, the mockingbird is a symbol of innocence. Because Dill doesn’t really mature through the story as Jem and Scout do, he is, in a way, the essence of innocence.  He plays childish games such as daring Jem to touch the Radley house and creating the “Boo Radley” game. He runs away from home because he feels that he is unloved and unwanted. In chapter 19 Dill’s innocence is made apparent when he cries during Tom Robinson’s cross examination by Mr. Gilmer and has to leave the courtroom. While he and Scout are sitting outside, the reader learns that Dill is still untainted by the world of adults. He doesn’t understand why Mr. Gilmer the prosecuting attorney speaks to Tom Robinson in such a derogatory way and calls him “‘boy’ all the time and sneer[s] at him” (Lee, Chapter 19). His innocence allows him to see that what is happening to Tom Robinson isn’t right.

Other characters you could use are Scout and Jem because they are forced to grow up before they are ready. They see the side of humanity that is malevolent and unjust. Their innocent world is shattered by the verdict that the jury declares against Tom Robinson. They are forced to realize that the world is not always fair. They are forced to see that sometimes good does not win.

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duranfan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Dill is a mockingbird in a very literal sense. Mockingbirds repeat what they hear from other birds. Dill repeats what he has heard from adults in his life on a regular basis. He is always commenting with things such as "so and so says." Even though the ideas may not be his originally, Dill is essential to the plot because he introduces ideas and concepts to the core group of children.

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juliemb93 | Student

The only mockingbirds in the story are Arthur Radley and Tom Robinson. The mockingbird signifies someone who only does good but is mistreated or has had some type of wrongdoing done to them.