To Kill a Mockingbird

Charles Baker Harris (Dill) Character Analysis

Jem and Scout’s friend and Miss Rachel’s nephew. Dill comes to stay with Miss Rachel in Maycomb one summer and immediately shows that he’s a prolific liar and storyteller. In his play dramas with Jem and Scout, Dill plays all manner of characters but truly excels at portraying villains. He prefers his own stories to reality, hence his fascination with the Radley Place and with making Boo Radley come out of the house—the thought that Boo feeds on cats and might be dead piques Dill’s interest, which leads to all manner of shenanigans that, in retrospect, Scout realizes were extremely rude. Dill begins to show that he’s sensitive and compassionate, however, when he decides that they need to give Boo a note asking him to come out and sit with them and offering to buy him an ice cream. In the year that follows, Dill begins to suspect that Boo is really very lonely and doesn’t have any friends. Dill himself is very lonely: his mother is divorced and remarries sometime before the novel’s third summer, and now Dill’s parents don’t want much to do with him. He runs away to the Finches because he feels more welcome there than he does at home. During Tom Robinson’s trial, Dill’s sensitivity comes to the forefront and causes him to have to leave the courthouse, as he can’t stomach the rude and racist way that Mr. Gilmer speaks to Tom during his questioning. He’s adamant that it’s horrible to treat any person that way, no matter their skin color. In this sense, Dill truly remains an innocent child throughout the novel, as both Atticus and Mr. Raymond suggest that as children grow, they stop crying when they see injustice like this, and ultimately become either numb to it or go on to perpetuate it themselves.

Charles Baker Harris (Dill) Quotes in To Kill a Mockingbird

The To Kill a Mockingbird quotes below are all either spoken by Charles Baker Harris (Dill) or refer to Charles Baker Harris (Dill). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Warner Books edition of To Kill a Mockingbird published in 1960.
Chapter 14 Quotes

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.

Page Number: 159-60
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Chapter 19 Quotes

“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.”

Page Number: 226
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 22 Quotes

“They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it—seems that only children weep.”

Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 31 Quotes

A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishing-pole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention.

It was fall, and his children fought on the sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's [...] Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woes and triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive.

Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog.

Summer, and he watched his children's heart break. Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him.

Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.

Page Number: 320-21
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Charles Baker Harris (Dill) Character Timeline in To Kill a Mockingbird

The timeline below shows where the character Charles Baker Harris (Dill) appears in To Kill a Mockingbird. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...everything that led to the accident truly began. Jem maintains that it began the year Dill arrived, while Scout insists that if they want to take a broad view, it began... (full context)
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...boy sitting in Miss Rachel’s collard patch. He introduces himself as Charles Baker Harris, or Dill, and announces that he’s almost seven and can read. Dill is from Mississippi and is... (full context)
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...people. Nathan Radley returned to the house to imprison his brother. All of this fascinates Dill. (full context)
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Jem entertains Dill by describing what Boo looks like: tall and scarred with yellow teeth and fed on... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Dill returns home to Mississippi in early September. Scout is miserable until she remembers that she... (full context)
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...with “cat,” “rat,” and other words. Scout is bored, so she begins a letter to Dill. Miss Caroline scolds Scout for writing in cursive, which she isn’t supposed to learn until... (full context)
Chapter 4
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On the last day of school, Jem and Scout get out early. They discuss Dill’s impending arrival and as they pass the Radley Place, Scout points to the knothole. There’s... (full context)
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Dill arrives two days later on the train. He announces that he rode the train, helped... (full context)
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Scout runs on wobbly legs back to Jem and Dill and then argues with Jem about who should get the tire. Jem is furious, but... (full context)
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The play draws from neighborhood gossip. Dill plays villains, and for once Scout gets a good part when she plays the judge.... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...to stop playing it, they can just change the characters’ names and it’ll be okay. Dill agrees with Jem and frustratingly for Scout, the boys spend most of their time plotting... (full context)
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...(fake teeth), a gesture that makes them friends. Miss Maudie is kind to Jem and Dill, too, and she calls them to eat her exceptional cakes. Scout spends evenings on Miss... (full context)
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The next morning, Dill and Jem rope Scout into joining them to give Boo Radley a note by dropping... (full context)
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...when the bell rings. She whips around expecting to see Boo, but instead she sees Dill ringing the bell at Atticus. Jem trudges out looking extremely guilty. Atticus tells the children... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Atticus allows Jem and Scout to go sit by Miss Rachel’s fish pool with Dill the night before he leaves. They look for Mr. Avery, who lives across the street... (full context)
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...back of the Radley Place and creep to the back porch. Jem and Scout boost Dill up so he can look in the window, but he only sees curtains. Jem ignores... (full context)
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...black man in his collard patch and Miss Stephanie notices that Jem isn’t wearing pants. Dill explains that he won Jem’s pants in a game of strip poker, which the adults... (full context)
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Dill is comforted, but Jem still has no pants. Before they say goodbye, Dill kisses Scout... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Scout admits that she and Dill are engaged, which makes Francis laugh—according to him, Dill’s family passes him from relative to... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...suspect that there’s skill involved with being a girl. However, she receives a letter from Dill early in the summer, which says that Dill has to stay in Mississippi with his... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...snake. She asks Jem to come investigate. He pokes a broom under the bed and Dill emerges. Scout fetches him milk and cornbread when he asks and Dill tells a far-fetched... (full context)
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Dill eats and then survives Miss Rachel’s scolding. She allows him to stay. Aunt Alexandra sends... (full context)
Chapter 15
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After some pleading, Dill’s mother allows him to stay. After this, things go downhill quickly. One evening, Mr. Tate... (full context)
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...Atticus assures him that they were friends, not a gang or the Klan. Scout walks Dill home and returns to find evidence of a fight between Aunt Alexandra and Atticus. She... (full context)
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...tells Scout that he’s going downtown. Scout insists that she’s coming too, and they grab Dill on their way out. (full context)
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...makes Maycomb look respectable and like there are no black people around. Jem, Scout, and Dill notice a light outside the jail. They see Atticus sitting under it, reading. Jem stops... (full context)
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...she doesn’t recognize the men, who smell of alcohol. Atticus calmly tells Jem to take Dill and Scout home, but Jem refuses. One man yanks Jem’s collar, so Scout kicks the... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...which Atticus forbids. He leaves for work and tells Atticus and Scout to stay home. Dill arrives and announces that a rumor is flying that they held off 100 people, but... (full context)
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Scout, Dill, and Jem go across the street to see if Miss Maudie is going to court... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...he says this, and the court erupts. Reverend Sykes tries to get Jem, Scout, and Dill to leave, but they refuse, and he doesn’t press the issue. Mr. Ewell looks smugly... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...Taylor calls for a 10-minute break. Mr. Underwood snorts when he sees Scout, Jem, and Dill in the balcony. Scout knows that there are finer points to the trial, but she’s... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Dill starts to cry uncontrollably, so Jem sends him out with Scout. Outside, they greet Mr.... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Mr. Raymond invites Dill to have a drink to settle his stomach. Scout knows he’s evil and that Atticus... (full context)
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...hasn’t seen Maycomb, but she will if she steps back inside the courthouse. Scout pulls Dill back into the courthouse. Judge Taylor is almost finished with his cigar and Atticus is... (full context)
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...the evidence and come to the right choice. He implores the jury to believe Tom. Dill points. Scout sees Calpurnia heading for Atticus. (full context)
Chapter 21
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...to go, since his children are missing, but Mr. Underwood interjects that Scout, Jem, and Dill are in the balcony. The children head downstairs and Jem excitedly announces that they’re going... (full context)
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Jem, Scout, and Dill return to find that the jury is still out, and few people moved. Reverend Sykes... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Jem cries angrily as he, Dill, and Scout find Atticus outside. He says that it’s not right and Atticus agrees. At... (full context)
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Dill arrives, eats Atticus’s breakfast, and says that Miss Rachel said that Atticus can bang his... (full context)
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Outside, Miss Stephanie and Mr. Avery are still talking. Miss Rachel heads toward them as Dill says he’s going to be a clown and laugh when he grows up. He suggests... (full context)
Chapter 24
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One Sunday late in August, Jem and Dill swim naked at Barker’s Eddy, leaving Scout with Calpurnia and Aunt Alexandra’s missionary circle. She... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...so there’s no reason to kill it. Scout lies back on her cot, thinking of Dill, and remembers suddenly what Dill told her. He and Jem had been swimming and, as... (full context)