In Chap.11 Jem is a mad dog and Mrs Dubose "shoots" him, and again a few pages later. Explain the obvious connection with him and the other mad dog?"To Kill a Mockingbird'

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 11 of "To Kill a Mockingbird," Jem has decided that he and Scout must go past Mrs. Dubose's yard to the end of the street to meet Atticus after work.  One day as they pass the cantankerous old woman she utters her vituperation,

'Not only a Finch waiting on tables but one in the courthouse lawing for n-----s!'

Jem stiffened.  Mrs. Dubose's shot had gone home and she knew it!  She continues her insults and Jem is "scarlet" in anger.

Then, one afternoon Jem takes Scout with him to buy a steam engine for himself and a baton for Scout.  As they near the house of Mrs. Dubose, Jem notices that the old woman is not on the porch.  Impetuously, he grabs Scout's baton and cuts off the heads of every one of the woman's camellia bush in her yard.  When he finishes, he snaps Scout's baton over his knee, and throws it down.

By that time I was shrieking.  Jem yanked my hair, said he didn't car, he'd do it again if he got a chance, and if I didn't shut up he'd pull every hair out of my head.  I didn't shut up and he kicked me....

Jem loses all control of himself like a "mad dog."  Again, Atticus, who is "civilized in his heart" must step in and resolve the situation:  He has Mrs. Dubose assign the punishment:  Jem must come and read to the old woman.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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