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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

  

by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird Charles Baker Harris (Dill) Quotes

"It was just him I couldn't stand," Dill said. […] "That old Mr. Gilmer doin' him thataway, talking so hateful to him—[…] It was the way he said it made me sick, plain sick. […] The way that man called him 'boy' all the time an' sneered at him, an' looked around at the jury every time he answered-[…] It ain't right, somehow it ain't right to do 'em that way. Hasn't anybody got any business talkin' like that—it just makes me sick." (19.155-165)

Poor Dill. He picks up on the ugly injustice of Mr. Gilmer's questioning, and he's too much of a kid to accept it. Does he notice because he's an outsider? Or is he, like Atticus, naturally sensitive to injustice?

Dill's eyes flickered at Jem, and Jem looked at the floor. Then he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood. He went out of the room and down the hall. "Atticus," his voice was distant, "can you come here a minute, sir?"

Beneath its sweat-streaked dirt Dill's face went white. I felt sick. […]

Jem was standing in a corner of the room, looking like the traitor he was. "Dill, I had to tell him," he said. "You can't run three hundred miles off without your mother knowin'."

We left him without a word. (14.79-91)

Jem really is growing up—he puts adult notions of what's right (tell your parents before you decide to run off to a different county) before child ones (don't tattle on your friends). Is there a particular reason for Jem's change, or is it just part of getting older?

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