Explore the ways Mrs Dubose is presented in ‘to kill a mockingbird’ * How Lee uses languages and narrative to present character. * How Lee manipulates structure to present the character. * Your own and other characters’ response to the character. * How the character links to wider themes of the novel.
Just as Boo Radley seems to be the ghost of Maycomb, Mrs. Dubose has an alternate persona herself; she is the dragon of Maycomb town. Scout introduces her as “plain hell” and she says that “Jem and I hated her. If she was on the porch when we passed, we would be raked by her wrathful gaze, subjected to ruthless interrogation regarding our behaviour, and given a melancholy prediction on what we would amount to when we grew up, which was always nothing.” Despite being confined to a wheelchair most of the time, Mrs. Dubose has the power to inspire rage and fear just through the power of her words. This introduction to Mrs. Dubose makes the reader despise her and want her dead. Lee has used Scout’s hatred for the character at the time to pass on the bad image of her.
The very sight of Mrs. Dubose’s face was enough to make Scout’s stomach turn in knots and turn her slightly green. Scout describes her in a hideous way; ‘Cords of saliva would collect on her lips; she would draw them in, then open her mouth again. Her mouth seemed to have a private existence of its own. It worked separate and apart from the rest of her, out and in, like a clam hole at low tide. Occasionally it would say, "Pt," like some viscous substance coming to a boil.’ Lee uses very negative adjectives to describe the old lady such as ‘some viscous substance’ this gives the impression that Mrs. Dubose is a ‘something’ not a someone and that negative view of her from the children is what makes us dislike Mrs. Dubose so much.
Atticus however says Mrs. Dubose is a ‘Lady’ and tells the children she should be treated like one. Atticus is wiser than the children so obviously...
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