How does Mrs. Dubose show true courage as Atticus said? What examples in part 1 show the theme of avoiding cruelty toward others?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus's definition of real courage is when you know you're beaten before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through to the end. In chapter 11, Mrs. Dubose demonstrates true courage by battling and conquering her addiction to morphine before she dies from a chronic disease. Mrs. Dubose knew that she only had a short time to live and promised herself that she would die addiction-free. Mrs. Dubose showed real courage and was able to fulfill her goal of breaking her addiction before she died from a chronic disease.

There are also several examples illustrating the theme of avoiding cruelty towards others in Part One of the novel. In chapter 9, Atticus teaches Scout the importance of exercising tolerance by keeping her fists down when Cecil Jacobs makes derogatory comments about him at school. Scout controls her temper and does not physically attack Cecil Jacobs on the playground after he makes several rude comments about Atticus.

cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mrs. Dubose knew that she was dying, but chose to fight to die free of her addiction to morphine. Although Mrs. Dubose could have made the decision to die a relatively peaceful death free of pain, she chose to die free of the control of addiction. She showed true courage, which is, according to Atticus, "when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what"; Atticus goes on to tell Jem that "you rarely win, but sometimes you do." Mrs. Dubose knew that she would not live much beyond her battle, and that she would likely die a less comfortable death than was possible, but she was true to her convictions and died with peace of mind.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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