Examine the words and behavior of Mrs. Dubose and the embodiment of traditional Southern values and characteristics to which she expects the children of Maycomb to conform to in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Mrs. Dubose represents the old ways of the ante-bellum South: proud, unchanging and defiant. She not only remembers the times when Southern womanhood was held in high esteem, but when all Southern women were treated--and behaved--as true ladies. She still views Negroes as little more than freed slaves, lesser humans who are unfit to socialize or even exist in her white world. As for her treatment of Scout, no girl in her day would have run around in overalls, and Mrs. Dubose believes that Scout has little chance to grow into someone like her late mother, who the old lady claims that

A lovelier lady than our mother never lived, she said...  (Chapter 11)

In her own old fashioned, drug-addicted view, Mrs. Dubose wants what is best for Scout, but Mrs. Dubose still lives in the 19th century--packing her Confederate pistol at her side--and a more modern vision of women is never able to cross her mind. As Atticus explained,

"She had her own views about things, a lot different from mine, maybe... she died beholden to nothing and nobody.  (Chapter 11)

She is a relic of the past--much like William Faulkner's creation of Miss Emily Grierson in "A Rose for Emily"--"a fallen monument" who

... passed from generation to generation—dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse.  ("A Rose for Emily," William Faulkner)

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