Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mr. Dolphus Raymond

Mr. Dolphus Raymond is a very important part of chapter sixteen because he and his family represent all of the mixed race Americans at the time. Maycomb seems to be a perfect southern town with its very distinct line between the treatment of whites and the treatments of blacks. Mr. Raymond's family is a crucial piece in the make up of Maycomb. They make this book believable because of their historical accuracy. If Harper Lee had not written about the Raymond family, the book would have seemed almost to pure and perfect to be true. There are plenty of mixed raced children everywhere and now it is quite common, but in the early 1930s these kids were often discriminated against. As Scout, Jem, and Dill pass by Mr. Raymond, Jem says, "They (half black and half white children) don't belong anywhere. Colored folks won't have 'em 'cause they're half white; white folks won't have 'em 'cause they're colored, so they're just in-betweens, don't belong anywhere."

This quote shows how many folks in the south felt about children of two different ethnicities. Scout is too young to know how the world around her works, and doesn't understand why it would matter that a child is of mixed race but does not look it. Jem already knows that it is no matter that he doesn't look mixed race, it only matters that he has "a drop of Negro blood" which makes him all black in the eyes of Maycomb.

Jillian

2 comments:

  1. I agree with Jill on this one. Dolphus Raymond is a very important character in this chapter. He has mixed children, which is looked down upon by whites. This is why Scout sees Mr. Raymond as a evil man...she has been listening to the talk around Maycomb. He has a bad reputation because it is said that he also drinks whiskey from a Coca Cola bottle contained in a paper bag. Before this point, the book has only mentioned black people and white people, but never the mixed people. The mixed people, as Jem tells Dill and Scout that they don't fit in.
    On page 215, after Dill says that Mr. Raymond doesn't look like trash, Jem agrees. "He's not...and he's from a real old family to boot." Dill asks, "Then why does he do like that?" "That's just his way." Mr. Raymond is not trash but it was just of his reputation that made him seem like trash. Scout also asks what mixed children are, which is probably why they were never mentioned before. Dolphus Raymond is the symbol of evil and impurity in the eyes of the Maycomb people.

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  2. Dolphus Raymond plays a very important role in To Kill a Mockingbird because he represents dreams and realities in the microcosm of Maycomb. I strongly agree with Jill and Felix on this because they both emphasized the fact that because Dolphus Raymond is only half black, he is still hated upon by the white community. In a way, I think this supports the quote that Jill mentioned, “...but around here once you have a drop of Negro blood, that makes you all black.” This quote brings to life the issue of black inferiority in Maycomb County in a way that we have not seen before. Highlighted in the Plessy vs. Ferguson Supreme Court case, the issue of having even a drop of Negro in you in Maycomb at this time would rule you completely inferior to the white community. Jill stated that the issue of race would have seemed too “perfect” and unrealistic if Harper Lee did not include the mixed issue, and I completely agree with her on that. By adding in another group to the already widely diverse microcosm of Maycomb, it not only provides more tension between people with slavery or anti slavery thoughts at the time, but allows more room for both the reader and the characters to experience empathy in a different sense. The mixed group is obviously very controversial in Maycomb, and because some people may seem puzzled at whether to count them as white or black, the mixed groups get even more hated on. By stepping into one of these character’s shoes and understanding what they feel about themselves and their outside world, either the reader or even another character in the book could be opened up to another world of emotion and begin to see life in Maycomb from the perspective of someone who doesn’t benefit from living in it. But this raises the question: why does Dolphus Raymond understand the mixed group other than the fact that he identifies with them?

    “They don’t belong anywhere. Colored folks won’t have ‘em because they’re half white; whit folks won’t have ‘em ‘cause they’re colored, so they’re just in-betweens, don’t belong anywhere.”

    Tynan

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