As a general rule, the larger the body of negroes on a plantation or estate, the more completely are they treated as mere property, and in accordance with a policy calculated to insure the largest pecuniary returns [profits]…. It may be true, that among the wealthier slave-owners there is oftener a humane disposition, a better judgment, and a greater ability to deal with their dependents indulgently and bountifully, but the effects of this disposition are chiefly felt, even on those plantations where the proprietor resides permanently, among the slaves employed about the house and stables, and perhaps a few old favourites in the quarters. It is more than balanced by the difficulty of acquiring a personal interest in the units of a large body of slaves, and an acquaintance with the individual characteristics of each. The treatment of the mass must be reduced to a system, the ruling idea of which will be, to enable one man to force into the same channel of labour the muscles of a large number of men of various and often conflicting wills.
Lee modeled the character of Dill on her childhood friend, Truman Capote , known then as Truman Persons.   Just as Dill lived next door to Scout during the summer, Capote lived next door to Lee with his aunts while his mother visited New York City.  Like Dill, Capote had an impressive imagination and a gift for fascinating stories. Both Lee and Capote were atypical children: both loved to read. Lee was a scrappy tomboy who was quick to fight, but Capote was ridiculed for his advanced vocabulary and lisp. She and Capote made up and acted out stories they wrote on an old Underwood typewriter Lee's father gave them. They became good friends when both felt alienated from their peers; Capote called the two of them "apart people".  In 1960, Capote and Lee traveled to Kansas together to investigate the multiple murders that were the basis for Capote's nonfiction novel In Cold Blood .