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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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How does Harper Lee present the differences between children and adults in the passage, "Because you're children and you can understand it"?

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In Chapter 20, Dolphus Raymond shares his Coca-Cola with Dill outside of the courthouse to settle Dill's stomach. Dolphus tells Dill that he isn't "thin-hided" for reacting the way he did when Mr. Gilmer began treating Tom Robinson with contempt. After Dolphus tells the children why he feigns alcoholism, Scout asks Dolphus why he trusted them with his secret. Dolphus says,

"Because you're children and you can understand it" (Lee 268).

Lee presents the differences between adults and children by portraying children as sympathetic and understanding individuals while adults are callous and prejudiced. Dill reacts with disgust when he sees Tom Robinson being disrespected because he is black. Children are essentially "color-blind" to race when they are young. They have the ability to view people as individuals without classifying and judging them based on race. Dolphus explains to the children that as they grow older, they will see black people being mistreated every day. In the South, adults are immune to feeling sympathetic towards black people and begin to view them with contempt the older they become. Dolphus looks at Dill and says that in a few years, Dill won't cry anymore when he sees black people being mistreated.

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