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In "To Kill a Mockingbird," why does Atticus call Mrs. Dubose a model of...

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jackie-mohawk | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 28, 2008 at 11:01 AM via web

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In "To Kill a Mockingbird," why does Atticus call Mrs. Dubose a model of real courage as opposed to “a man with a gun in his hand”?

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semoody | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 28, 2008 at 2:56 PM (Answer #1)

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Mrs. Dubose has the courage to end her addiction to morphine before her death, a feat she does quietly while confined to her bed, listening to Scout reading aloud to her for longer and longer sessions.  A "man with a gun in his hand" may sport a weapon, but real courage is an inner quality, rather than an external possession.

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mjush | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 29, 2008 at 5:00 AM (Answer #2)

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Atticus knows that holding a gun does not make you brave. He never tells his children what a sharp shooter he is because he does not see this as something worth bragging about even though his children are impressed and the neighbors seem impressed by this skill as well. But, Atticus realizes that real courage is being able to have inner strength and not just outer strength. Anyone can hold a gun and appear brave. However, not everyone can have the strength to overcome morphine addication. This was an inner battle that she was able to win where most people may not have the strength or courage to enter this fight.

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