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I need help figuring what chapter this quote is from in To Kill a Mockingbird: "Come on...

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hollie42 | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:03 AM via web

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I need help figuring what chapter this quote is from in To Kill a Mockingbird: "Come on Scout, he whispered, "don't pay any attention to her. Just hold your head high and be a gentleman."

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tmcquade | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:18 PM (Answer #1)

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This is Jem speaking to Scout in ch. 11 when they are passing by Mrs. Dubose's house.  She is their cantankerous neighbor, and when Scout tries to give her a friendly greeting, she gets the response, "Don't you say hey to me, you ugly girl! You say good afternoon, Mrs. Dubose!"

Mrs. Dubose also criticizes Scout for what she is wearing: "What are you doing in those overalls? You should be in a dress and camisole, young lady! You'll grow up waiting on tables if somebody doesn't change your ways..." 

She goes on to accuse both children of ditching school, asking,  “Where are you two going at this time of day? ... Playing hooky, I suppose. I’ll just call up the principal and tell him!”

Despite all her criticisms, Jem encourages Scout to "be a gentleman" and to hold her head high and not let Mrs. Dubose get to her.  Ironically, moments later, it is Jem who "loses it" when Mrs. Dubose criticizes Atticus for defending "niggers". 

Jem, having just developed an even deeper respect for his father after what happened in ch. 10, comes to Atticus's defense by destroying all of Mrs. Dubose's camellias with Scout's baton.  This soon earns him the unusual punishment of reading to her in the afternoons.

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