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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 11, as Jem and Scout pass Mrs. Dubose's house, she hurls insults at them. Mrs. Dubose says, "Your father's no better than the niggers and trash he works for!" (Lee 135) Jem is upset and loses his temper by smashing Mrs. Dubose camellia bush. Scout learns that even Jem can lose his temper under extreme provocation. Atticus explains to Scout that she must learn to conduct herself appropriately when the "chips are down," and is told that Tom's case is something that "goes to the essence of a man's conscience" (Lee 140). Towards the end of the chapter, Scout learns that Mrs. Dubose was terminally ill, and her last wish was to "kick" her morphine addiction. Scout learns that Jem's reading took her mind off the pain in between her doses, and she eventually beat her addiction. After Mrs. Dubose dies, she leaves a candy box with a white camellia in it as a gift for Jem. Atticus explains that it's her way of saying that everything is okay between them. This is an important lesson in Scout's moral development. Scout witnesses the duality of human nature when Atticus explains Mrs. Dubose's courage and integrity. Scout learns that people can have both good and bad qualities.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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