To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 11
Mrs Henry Lafayette Dubose • Lived alone except for a Negro girl that looked after her constantly. • Lived two doors up the street from the Finches. • Very old, spend most of the day in bed and the rest in a wheel-chair. • Rumoured she kept C.S.A pistol concealed under her shawls and wraps.
Mrs Henry Lafayette Dubose • Asked Jem and Scout ruthless questions. • She was vicious. • Said Atticus let the children run wild. • Said Jem broke Miss Maudie’s scuppernongs. Jem denied it. • Said Scout would become a waitress or would be lawing for niggers in the courthouse
Mrs Henry Lafayette Dubose • Said Atticus was no better than the niggers he worked for. • Mrs Dubose punished Jem by forcing him to read for her 2 hours in the afternoon for a month. • Mrs Dubose listened for a while then drifted off.
Mrs Henry Lafayette Dubose • After a while Mrs Dubose remained awake longer and the alarm was set to go off a little later. • One afternoon she stayed alert until Atticus returned from work, • Mrs Dubose was addicted to morphine and wanted to kick her addiction before she died. She used Jem to help her.
Mrs Henry Lafayette Dubose • She succeeded. She died owing nothing to nobody.
Jem • Could not take the insults Mrs Dubose threw at him. • He destroyed all Mrs Dubose’s flowers with the baton he had bought for Scout. • He accepted his punishment to read to Mrs Dubose and took Scout with him. • He learned to form an expression of politeness whenever Mrs Dubose said something good or bad. • Jem was upset when she died and when he discovered why he had to read to her.
Atticus • Would have forced Jem to read to Mrs Dubose anyway. • Atticus wanted Jem to learn about real courage, instead of allowing Jem to think courage is a man with a gun in his hand. • Courage is when you have lost before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win but sometimes you do. • Tells Scout they will still experience many more insults from the people of Maycomb.
1. What exactly is a "nigger-lover?" Does it really not mean anything, as Atticus claims? According to Maycomb, why is it such a sin? (This is a hard question; remember the historical time and place.) • It suggests that you prefer the company of negroes and you prefer their lifestyle. • In a way Atticus is correct. It is used as an insult. • Maycomb people took part in the civil war and they still see the negroes as slaves, people who had no rights and who were treated like animals. You can not take the side of a negro, when there are white people also involved. It does not matter how terrible and low class that white person is. Negroes had no rights and were less than human.
2. Explain Mrs. Dubose's use of the alarm clock. • Mrs Dubose needed to get her morphine injection at a certain time or she would go into a fit. The fit was a withdrawal symptom of being without morphine. • Each day she would set the alarm clock a little later so that her body could learn to stay without morphine a little longer. • In the end the alarm clock was set so late, that her body did not even crave morphine anymore.
3. What type of courage does Mrs. Dubose teach the children? What other events in the novel can you compare and/or contrast to this act of courage? . • You must persevere with something even when all the odds are against you. • Atticus knows he will lose the Tom Robinson case but he still does his best. • Mayella Ewell accuses Tom Robinson falsely and perseveres with her false story to protect her own reputation. This is the opposite of what Mrs Dubose and Atticus did.
4. Why doesn't Atticus tell the children about Mrs. Dubose's motives before her death? How might Jem have behaved had he known - and what would he have failed to learn as a result? • Mrs Dubose really showed courage because Jem did not do his utmost best to take her mind off the morphine. • He would have helped her and he would have taken credit for her achievement. • Jem would have said his courage helped her and Mrs Dubose had no courage. • Don’t judge a person at all. Be kind no matter what.