Could you please tell me where to find the following quote in To Kill a Mockingbird?: "I was terrified. The O.K. Cafe was a dim organization on the north side of the square."

Asked on by hollie42

2 Answers | Add Yours

cbetances's profile pic

cbetances | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

This is from Chapter 11, about 16 paragraphs into the chapter. 

The quote is important because it sets up the relationship between Jem, Scout and Mrs. Dubose, their neighbor. Initially Scout is scared of her, and Jem doesn't like the way she makes fun of his father. Jem destroys her flowers in anger, and he and Scout are punished because of it. For six days a week for a month, the two of them must go to her house and read to her.  

As they spend more time with her, their opinion of her begins to change, and after she dies, Atticus reveals the truth about their visits: Mrs. Dubose was addicted to morphine and spent the last month of her life knowing she was going to die because she was trying to kick her habit. The children were a distraction for her and gave her some comfort in her last days. Scout and Jem end up thinking that she is very brave and strong. 

jameadows's profile pic

jameadows | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

This quote is in Chapter 11, following the paragraph that begins, "Don't you contradict me!" Mrs. Dubose is yelling at Jem and Scout, as she often does, and berating them. She hates that they refer to their father as "Atticus," and she says that Atticus should have remarried after his wife died. She also accuses them of playing hooky from school, even though it's Saturday, and she yells at Scout for wearing overalls and says that she should be wearing a dress and camisole instead. She then tells Scout that if she's not careful, she will grow up to wait on tables at the O.K. Cafe. This is Mrs. Dubose's way of saying that Scout will grow up to shame the upper-crust Finch family by being a waitress in a seedy joint. Scout doesn't understand the meaning of Mrs. Dubose's insult, but she is scared because the O.K. Cafe seems dark and shady to her. Scout takes Mrs. Dubose literally and thinks that she, Scout, really will be waiting on tables. 


We’ve answered 320,050 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question