Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose is an older woman in her late nineties who suffers from morphine addiction. To help her around the house she has an African-American girl named Jessie. Mrs. Dubose’s house has a stale odor, camellia bushes in the front and very steep front steps. She spends most of her time in bed-rest or a wheelchair because of her addiction. Inside her bedroom there is a brass bed with many multi-colored quilts. Mrs. Dubose is said to be the meanest lady in town. When Jem and Scout would walk past her house she would criticize their family. She often made rude comments to Atticus too because she didn’t think he should be defending Tom Robinson, and that he should keep track of his kids better. Mrs. Dubose was very negative and sometimes even rude to other citizens in the town.
One day when Mrs. Dubose is inside her house, Jem takes Scout’s baton and ruins the camellia bushes. For his punishment, Jem is to read to her for approximately one month. Jem started out reading Ivanhoe to her, and before long, she was almost “passed-out” on her bed. When the alarm clock rang, she ordered them to leave immediately. Everyday the alarm clock would ring later and later until it didn’t ring at all. This was Mrs. Dubose’s method of weaning herself off morphine. She died a few hours after being completely independent from her medication.
Even though Mrs. Dubose died, she had a big role in teaching Jem what “real courage” was. Real courage wasn’t a man with a gun, it was being able to stand up for yourself and do what is right; even if you’re standing alone. Mrs. Dubose had the courage to stand up to herself, and quit morphine. She had succeeded in this goal. In the words of Mrs. Dubose, “she died beholden to nothin’ and nobody”.
Even though Mrs. Dubose’s life was short in the book To Kill a Mockingbird, she still played a big role in the story. Her main purpose was to teach the Finch children, mostly Jem, about real courage. Mrs. Dubose is a very important...
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