October 18, 2011

the clown

No. 3: Dill from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Dill plays the sidekick and friend to Scout Finch and her brother Jem on their adventures. Their friend spends his summers in their small southern town.

The history

Dill's arrival is important to spurring the events that occur throughout the book. "...It began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out" (Chapter One).

It is through Scout's eventual understanding of Boo Radley, and her coming to see him as a person and not a legend, that promotes some of the book's greatest themes — tolerance in an intolerant world, good and bad existing at once and the importance of having hope and faith in mankind.

During one of Dill's summer adventures home, the trio decide to sneak into the Radley home to sneak a peak at Boo. That event spurs other, future events, which culminates in Boo saving the Finch children.

Favorite scene/ favorite lines

After dealing with the disappointment of Tom Robinson's conviction, Dill says to his friends;
"I think I'll be a clown when I get grown," said Dill.

Jem and I stopped in our tracks.

"Yes sir, a clown," he said. "There ain't one thing in this world I can do about folks except laugh, so I'm gonna join the circus and laugh my head off."

"You got it backwards, Dill," said Jem. "Clowns are sad, it's folks that laugh at them."

"Well I'm gonna be a new kind of clown. I'm gonna stand in the middle of the ring and laugh at the folks."
(Chapter 22)

The words lighten the mood a little, but also show how the children's worldview has changed. Good scene.

Why I love him/her/them
Dill provides an innocent, and often light-hearted perspective in an otherwise serious story. Likewise, he faces the difficult times with his friends while they try to understand the often harsh realities of their world. He serves as a solid link between the two siblings and their pasts and their futures.

Dill was based on Harper Lee's childhood friend and fellow writer Truman Capote. The two helped each other with their writing careers — Lee conducted interviews for In Cold Blood — and info indicates they remained friends throughout life. To Kill a Mockingbird also suggests that Jem and Scout remain friends with Dill.

He meets two of my main criteria for a BFF: one who sticks with his or her buddies through the tough times and one who lasts a lifetime.

Plus, I just love the book. It is one of the few required school reads I actually liked and count among my favorite books. Granted, I read the book before it was required (that's the only way I can happily beat the system), but you get the idea.

Return Thursday to see who will be the No. 2 BFF. You can also read more about the series by visiting the "Projects" page, posted on the bar at the top of the page.

Please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message on Twitter. Follow me @lmchap. Click here to read more about PBFF.

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