**I wrote this in 2006 after seeing Capote, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.
I’ve always wondered why Harper Lee never wrote another book after To Kill a Mockingbird. Was this really all she had in her? There have been rumors for quite awhile that Truman Capote was a ghostwriter for Ms. Lee because she was having trouble with her manuscript. I find this a bit hard to believe because their writing styles were so different, but it’s fun to speculate that it could be true. After all, Capote was an accomplished writer. Why couldn’t he have changed his technique to suit the occassion?
Maybe Dill Harris was totally Truman Capote’s creation. He wanted to be immortalized in the book, so he wrote Dill in. When you think about it, Dill wasn’t totally essential to the plot of the novel. He was a catalyst for Jem and Scout’s risk taking–events like sneaking up on the Radley porch and snooping during Tom Robinson’s arraignment, but Jem and Scout could easily have chosen to do those things on their own. Perhaps Capote helped Ms. Lee complete her masterpiece by inserting Dill into some of the scenes she was struggling with.
Whatever the case, To Kill a Mockingbird is, in my humble opinion, one of the best novels ever written. I don’t really care who wrote parts of it; I’m just glad it was published!
By the way, John Megna, who played Dill in the movie, died in 1995 of AIDS complications. He was 42 years old.