In To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Dill say he will be a clown when he grows up?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Dill is still upset by his experience of the trial. He was reduced to tears during the prosecutor's cross-examination of Tom Robinson and, like Jem, he recognized the evil nature of the jury's verdict, and his view of adults has changed.

"Every one of 'em oughta be ridin' broomsticks. Aunt Rachel already does."

Dill's home life is not a good one, and he is happiest during his summer months in Maycomb, but the trial has left him skeptical of joining the adult world.

"There ain't one thing in this world I can do about folks except laugh..."

Desperate for happiness and love from his own parents, running away from home must still seem like a good idea to Dill, since he decides that he will one day take off and become a clown in the circus so he can "laugh my head off" all day long. Jem explains to Dill that he has it backwards: Clowns are sad, and people laugh at them. But Dill has determined he will be a new type of clown, one who will

"... stand in the middle of the ring and laugh at the folks."