In To Kill a Mockingbird, what do Atticus and Mrs. Dubose have in common?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

On the surface, Mrs. Dubose and Atticus Finch have dramatically different personalities, views, and beliefs. Mrs. Dubose is an overt, extremely rude racist, who is not shy about expressing her prejudiced opinions, using vulgar language, and offending others. In contrast, Atticus is a morally upright gentleman who is polite, tolerant, and sympathetic.

Despite their many differences, Mrs. Dubose and Atticus Finch share some inherent character traits. Both characters are courageous individuals who face difficult obstacles head-on. Mrs. Dubose knows that she will pass away but courageously conquers her morphine addiction before she dies. Similarly, Atticus knows that he does not have a chance at winning the Tom Robinson trial but defends his client to the best of his ability. Both characters are also determined, self-motivated individuals. Mrs. Dubose and Atticus have their minds set to accomplish certain goals, and each character valiantly strives to attain what they desire. Both characters are also uniquely individual and true to themselves. Despite the opinions of others, Mrs. Dubose and Atticus abide by their own conscience and remain unaffected by their neighbors' feelings. Another similarity between both characters is their pure hearts. Despite Mrs. Dubose's racist personality and antagonistic nature, she reveals her pure heart by leaving a white camellia for Jem as a token of her appreciation and forgiveness.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Tough one. My first thought is to say nothing at all, but that’s a superficial thought which goes against one of the themes of the book which is to put yourself in other people’s shoes and not to prejudge.

They both don’t care what other people think. Although, Mrs. Dubose is racist like the majority of the town, so she is subject to conformity in that respect. She is just bitter enough to not care.

You could admire her fighting her addiction to morphine and takes some self-control and conscious will power. There’s one thing; Both she and Atticus have self-control and conscious will power over external forces. I would add that Atticus has considerably more will power. But he is the one to point out that she is brave and being educated, he must know how difficult it is to defeat an addiction. This addiction to morphine could be analogous to the town’s addiction to their traditional ways of life; both are difficult to resist, the former for chemical reasons and the latter for cultural reasons.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial