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This quote is from Chapter 11 of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It is a Saturday and Jem and Scout traverse their neighborhood on the way to town so that Jem can spend his birthday money. As they near the house of Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, Jem and Scout spot the owner on her porch; she immediately shouts at them, asking them where they are going. When they tell her that they are going to town, Mrs. Dubose scolds them,
"Don't you lie to me!....If you aren't sent to the reform school before next week, my name's not Dubose!"
Quickly, Jem denies her insinuation that he has been in Miss Maudie's grapes, but Mrs. Dubose counters irately, "Don't you contradict me!" It is then that Mrs. Dubose turns her criticism upon their appearances and characters. For, she tells Scout that she should be wearing a dress and a camisole, and change her ways or she will be waiting tables at the O.K. Cafe....." With this mental picture in mind, Mrs. Dubose feels compelled to berate the male members of the Finch family:
"Not only a Finch waiting on tables, but one in the courthouse lawing for neg-------." clearly alluding to Mr. Finch.
This insult is too much for Jem to bear. He finds the beautiful camellia bushes and cuts the tops off every one in his retaliation against her.
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