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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What movie does Dill describe to Jem and Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird?

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In chapter one, Dill impresses Jem by telling him he had seen the movie Dracula. Up to that point, the only movies that Jem said he had seen in town were the Jesus movies shown in the courthouse, and he eagerly asks Dill to tell him all about the film. The narrator chooses not to include Dill's description. All she says is that "Dill reduced Dracula to dust," and that Jem thought it sounded much better than the book. It foreshadows the idea that reality can be scarier and, at times, a lot harder than fiction.

Their mutual love for the works of writers such Edgar Rice Burroughs, Oliver Optic, and Victor Appleton results in a friendship that will last all summer. When they get bored, their minds turn to the real-life character of Boo Radley.

As the narrator states:

Inside the house lived in a malevolent phantom. People said he existed, but Jem and I had never seen him. People said he went out at night when the moon was down and peeped on them. When people's azaleas froze in a cold snap, it was because he had breathed on them. Any stealthy small crimes committed in Maycomb were his work.

What should have been a description of Count Dracula has become the description of a real person. This is just, of course, the work of a child's overactive imagination, and later in the book the reader will see that Boo is in fact one of the good guys. The real monsters are the people that Scout least expects.

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In chapter one, Jem and Scout meet Charles Baker "Dill" Harris for the first time as he is sitting in Miss Rachel Haverford’s collard patch on the opposite side of the fence. After Dill explains to Jem and Scout that he is from Meridian, Mississippi and is spending the summer with his aunt, Rachel Haverford, he attempts to impress his new friends by informing them that he has seen the film Dracula. Scout immediately notices Jem beginning to view Dill with respect after bringing up Dracula, and Dill proceeds to reduce "Dracula to dust." Dill's fascination and affinity for Dracula correspond to his obsession with the ominous Radley home and the enigmatic figure, Boo Radley. Dill is fascinated with seeing Boo Radley, and he and Jem begin to formulate various schemes to make Boo come out of the house.

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In the first chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird, Dill describes Dracula to Jem and Scout. The fact that he's seen this film when Jem hasn't helps Jem start to respect him.


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