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To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

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Introduction

Catherine Rayment 11,0 The Finch Family have several neighbours, write about one of them Mrs. Dubose and how:- * She is a good or bad neighbour to the Finch family * How the writer shows the reader her good or bad equalities The character Mrs. Dubose is met by the reader in chapter 11 of the novel, and is used as a dramatic device through out that chapter. This technique from the author of Mrs. Dubose helps the reader to fully comprehend how much of a good neighbour she is to the Finch family, and also her true good qualities. From the beginning of chapter, Scout makes her feelings towards Mrs. Dubose very clear, by stating that "she was vicious", and that "Jem and I hated her". They "could do nothing to please her", and when Scout tried to please her she would reply by hurling abuse at them. Although Jem and Scout do not fully understand why she was such a cruel person, Atticus would always remind his two children of how they should be polite to her, as "she's an old lady, you just hold your head high and be a gentleman". ...read more.

Middle

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you've been licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what". Heroism is the fight itself, the struggle against fate or circumstance or any other overpowering force. Mrs. Dubose's goal was to break free from her addiction to morphine and her struggle against the clock which in comparison to Atticus is the struggle to uphold his own morals despite the fact that his case is nearly hopeless and the majority of the town is against him. According to Atticus's definition, he and Mrs. Dubose are both brave, even heroic, and he wants both Scout and Jem to follow their example. Even though Mrs. Dubose is a mean and intolerant old woman, she has her good side that demands respect. Atticus wants the children to see that, and that the majority of the townspeople who are ignorant and racist, they also have personal strengths that keep them from being all bad and give them hope for becoming better. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is because he is virtually unique in the novel in that he has experienced and understood evil without losing his faith in the human ability of goodness. Atticus understands that, rather than being simply creatures of good or creatures of evil, most people have both good and bad qualities. The important thing is to appreciate the good qualities and understand the bad qualities by treating others with sympathy and trying to see life from their perspective. He tries to teach this ultimate moral lesson to Jem and Scout to show them that it is possible to live both these qualities without losing hope or becoming cynical. In this way, Atticus is able to admire Mrs. Dubose's courage even while disproving of her racism. I believe that Scout's progress as a character in the novel is defined by her gradual development towards her understanding of Atticus's teachings and beliefs as shown many times previously with Jem. Overall the incident surrounding Mrs Dubose helps the reader to understand Scout in a more detailed manner, as her understanding of what real courage is helps her to view the world from Atticus's perspective (like Jem) ensuring that she will not become cynical or prejudiced as she loses her innocence. ...read more.

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