Why did Dill run away from home and back to Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At first, Dill tells Scout that his step-father locked him in the basement with chains, from which he escaped to the Finches' home. But later, after Jem has told Atticus of Dill's presence, Dill has eaten & bathed, & Dill and Scout are in bed, he tells her the actual truth.

"That wasn't it, he-they just wasn't interested in it 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."

"What'd they do in there?"

"Nothin', just sittin' and readin'-but they didn't want me with 'em."

So basically, Dill feels neglected and somewhat rejected by his mother and step-father. He goes on to say that they buy him anything he wants, but then tell him to play with it in another room. It also seems as though he doesn't live up to their expectations of how a boy should behave, because he's not really interested in sports, & instead hangs around the house "worryin' his folks." Dill feels they would be better off without him there, so he takes it upon himself to leave.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 14, Dill appears from underneath Scout's bed and tells the siblings that he ran away from Meridian. After describing a typically elaborate tale of how he escaped from a dingy basement, Dill admits that he simply stole thirteen dollars from his mother's purse, rode a train to Maycomb, walked ten miles, and rode on the back of a cotton wagon to make it into town. After everyone goes to sleep, Dill hops in Scout's bed, and she asks him why he ran away. Dill begins by telling Scout that his parents weren't hateful and treated him decently well. Dill then says,

"That wasn’t it, he—they just wasn’t interested in me." (Lee, 144)

Despite the numerous toys and books that his parents give him, they do not spend quality time with Dill. Essentially, Dill feels unwanted and unloved, which is why he decides to run away. Dill's parents do not show him the proper attention and affection that he desires, which makes Dill feel like his parents don't want him around. The reader sympathizes with Dill, especially as his parents' behavior towards their child contrasts greatly with Atticus's affectionate personality. 

zackattack9913 | Student
  1. Dill’s mom remarried and he doesn’t like them. They don’t pay any attention to him and just ignore him. His new dad said he would build a boat with him but he never did. His parents didn’t spend and time with him and they read by themselves in their room. They are always gone. He said they got him everything he wanted but they didn’t kiss him good night. He feels neglected because they don’t show any signs that they love him.

 

hjzhou | Student

dill ate corn bread and was hiding under the bed

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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