To Kill a Mockingbird: Dill Harris Character Sketch

Charles Baker Harris, who is commonly referred to as Dill, is a little boy in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird and plays the role of a cardboard character. Dill is sincere friends with Scout and Jem and spends his summers with Aunt Rachel. Dill represents the naivety and innocence of childhood and is a very intriguing character.

Dill appears to be younger than his actual age. At the beginning of the novel, Dill had short stature and appeared to be four years of age, when in actuality, was six years of age. “How old are you,’ asked Jem, ‘four and a half (Lee, Page 7)? ’” “‘Goin’ on seven (Lee, Page 7). ”

“‘Scout yonder’s been readin’ ever since she was born and she ain’t even started school yet. You look puny for goin’ on seven (Lee, Page 7). ’”

The quotes from the novel are from a conversation between Jem and Dill when they met. Jem initially assumes that Dill is four and a half years because of his youthful appearance and petite body.

Dill corrects Jem, stating that he is actually six years of age and is turning seven. Dill says in the last quote that he is quite small for his age. The quotes prove that Dill has a youthful appearance, small stature and appears younger than what he actually is.

Dill also has white hair and a pair of blue eyes. “… his hair was snow white and stuck to his head like duck fluff; he was a year my senior but I towered over him. As he told us the old take his blue eyes would lighten and darken… (Lee, Page 8). ” The quote from the novel is from the time when Scout is describing Dill’s hair and eyes. The quote is proof that Dill has white hair and blues eyes because this quote states that Dill’s hair was white with a duck fluff texture. The quote is also proof that Dill has blue eyes because the quote mentioned that Dill has a pair of blue eyes.

Dill is of the Caucasian race, given the fact that Dill has blue eyes. People of the Caucasian race are the only ones who can possess blue eyes. A positive trait that Dill possesses is his gift for storytelling and whimsical imagination. Dill would always make up peculiar stories about his life and share them with Scout and Jem. “Refreshed by food, Dill recited this narrative: having been bound in chains and left to die in the basement (there were basements in Meridian) by his new father, who disliked him and secretly kept alive on a raw field peas by a passing farmer who heard his cries for help, Dill worked himself free by pulling the chains from the wall.

Still, in wrist monocles, he wandered two miles out of the Meridian where he discovered a small animal show and was immediately engaged to wash the camel. He traveled with the show all over Mississippi until his infallible sense of direction told him he was in Abbot Country, Alabama, just across the river from Maycomb. He walked the rest of the way (Lee, Page 140). ” Another positive character trait that Dill possesses is his developed empathy for people.

Dill desires fair treatment of every human being, regardless of race. “‘It was just something I couldn’t stand. ’ Dill said (Lee, Page 198). ” “‘Dill, that’s his job. Why, if we didn’t have prosecutors—well we couldn’t have defense attorneys, I reckon (Lee, Page 199). ’” “Dill exhaled patiently. ‘I know all that, Scout. It was the way he said it made me sick, plain sick (Lee, Page 199). ’” “‘He’s supposed to act that way, Dill, he was cross—(Lee, Page 199)’. ”

“‘He didn’t act that way when—‘(Lee, Page 199). “‘Dill, those were his own witnesses (Lee, Page 199). ’” “‘Well, Mr. Finch didn’t act that way to Mayella and old man Ewell when he cross-examined them. The way that man called him ‘boy’ all the time an’ sneered at him, an’ looked around at the jury every time he answered—(Lee, Page 199)’. ”

“‘Well, Dill, after all he’s just a Negro (Lee, Page 199)’. ”

“‘I don’t care one speck. It ain’t right, somehow it aint right to do ‘em that way. Hasn’t anybody got any business talkin’ like that—it just makes me sick (Lee, Page 199)’.

The quotes from the novel are from a conversation between Dill and Scout after watching the trial of Tom Robinson for a while (Tom Robinson was a black man who was accused of sexually assaulting a white woman and was put on trial, despite the lack of evidence of the rape.

The trial is unfair to Tom because the trial took place during the time when racism was prominent in the southern United States. The prosecutors and judges treated Tom disrespectfully and unfairly in the trial because he was black).

In the conversation, it was shown that Dill was upset by the unfairness of the trial and the cruelty of the people towards Tom Robinson because he was black. Scout tries to comfort Dill, but Dill was far too upset by the injustice. In the last quote, Dill says to Scout that Tom shouldn’t be treated with disrespect because he was a Negro. The prejudice and unfairness of the trial reveal Dill’s empathy and desire for equal and respectful treatment of everyone, regardless if they’re black or white.

This scenario in the novel causes Dill’s character to mature, such that he gains strong moral values like Atticus (Atticus is Scout’s father who is defending Tom Robinson and believes that black people should be treated equally and with respect, despite the fact that most of Maycomb’s citizens were racist). A trait of Dill’s that needs improvement is his naivety and his tendency to jump to conclusions without discussing his problems with anyone.

Dill shows his naivety in the novel by running away from his parents because he believed that his parents didn’t love or care about him. Dill’s voice went on steadily in the darkness:

“‘the thing is, what I’m trying to say is—they do get on a lot bettwe without me, I can’t help them any. They ain’t mean.

They buy me everything I want, but it’s now-you’ve-got-it-go-play-with-it (Lee, Page 143)’. ”

The quote from the novel is from when Dill was explaining to Scout about why he ran away from his parents. Dill explains that he doesn’t feel loved by his parents because all his parents just do is give Dill material possessions to keep him occupied, instead of spending time with him. What Dill really desires is not toys, but his parent’s time.

Dill’s parents obviously love and care for Dill, but Dill is naive as to assume that his parents don’t. Instead of Dill discussing his situation with his parents or asking to spend time with him, Dill, with his naive mind, runs away from his parents. The fact that Dill ran away from his parents is proof that he is naive.

“Jem gave a reasonable description of Boo: Boo was about sex-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that’s why his hands were bloodstained—if you ate an animal raw, you could never wash the blood off. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time (Lee, Page 13). ”

“‘Let’s try to make him come out,’ said Dill. ‘I’d like to see what he looks like (Lee, Page 13). ’” “Our first raid came to pass only because Dill bet Jem The Gray Ghost against two Tom Swifts that Jem wouldn’t get any farther than the Radley gate. In all his life, Jem had never declined a dare. Jem thought about it for three days. I suppose he loved honor more than hid head for Dill wore him down easily (Lee, Page 13). ”

“‘You’re scared,’ Dill said, the first day (Lee, Page 13). ”

“‘Ain’t scared, just respectful,’ said Jem (Lee, Page 13). ”

“But Dill got him the third day, when he told Jem that folks in Meridian certainly weren’t as afraid as the folks in Maycomb, that he’d never seen such scary folks as the ones in Maycomb. That was enough to make Jem march to the corner, where he stopped and leaned against the light-pole, watching the gate hanging crazily on its homemade hinge (Lee, Page 13).”

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