In To Kill A Mockingbird, what does Jem learn when Atticus forces him to read to Mrs. Dubose as a punishment and why does the lawyer regard this woman as the bravest person he ever knew?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In To Kill A Mockingbird, Mrs. Dubose is a bitter, sick woman. She utters rude comments about Atticus as Jem and Scout walk by her house. Jem gets really upset with Mrs. Dubose for insulting his father. When passing her house, Mrs. Dubose would insult Atticus in front of his children. One day, Jem became fed up with Mrs. Dubose's insults. He beat all the buds off of her flower bush. 

When Atticus learned what Jem had done, he disciplined Jem. He told him he would have to talk to Mrs Dubose about his punishment. Mrs. Dubose gave Jem a punishment. She insisted that Jem and Scout visit her six days a week for a month and read to her for two hours. Since Mrs. Dubose was undergoing a severe drug withdrawal, she would indeed enjoy having Jem read to her. Jem read to her daily. This helped her overcome her morphine addiction.  

Atticus said that Mrs. Dubose was the bravest woman he knew because she was trying to rid herself of drug use. He knew that she was in turmoil since she had become addicted to drugs. Mrs. Dubose was trying to beat her drug addiction. This put her under extreme stress.

Mrs. Dubose died a month after Jem and Scout had visited her regularly. She died free from morphine addiction. That is why Atticus said she was the bravest woman he knew.  


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