What are 5 adjectives to describe Mrs. Dubose from To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Mrs. Dubose is an old lady that Jem visits as a punishment for ruining her flowers.  Here are some adjectives, or describing words, for her.  “Because Mrs. Dubose makes sly remarks about Atticus, Jem returns to cut all the buds off her camellia bushes” (enotes chapter 11 summary).


It is universally accepted among the children of Maycomb that Mrs. Dubose is a mean old lady.

Mrs. Dubose lived two doors up the street from us; neighborhood opinion was unanimous that Mrs. Dubose was the meanest old woman who ever lived. (CH 4)

It is because Mrs. Dubose is mean that Jem ruins her flowers, but Atticus thinks that spending time with her will be good for Jem.  Mrs. Dubose “regularly insults and harasses the children as they walk by” (enotes characters).


Mrs. Dubose is an old lady in pain.

"Nome, I mean the folks on our street are all old. Jem and me's the only children around here. Mrs. Dubose is close on to a hundred and Miss Rachel's old and so are you and Atticus." (CH 10)


Mrs. Dubose is definitely old, even if she is not close to a hundred!


Mrs. Dubose took morphine for pain, but she became addicted to it.


Mrs. Dubose is a tough old lady.  She likes to get her own way.

"Mrs. Dubose was a morphine addict," said Atticus. "She took it as a pain-killer for years. The doctor put her on it. She'd have spent the rest of her life on it and died without so much agony, but she was too contrary-" (CH 11)


Mrs. Dubose is tough enough to want to die on her own terms.


One of the main themes of the book is that courage comes in many forms.  Mrs. Dubose demonstrates courage because she is addicted to morphine and is weaning herself off of it.

“I wanted you to see something about her-I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew." (CH 11)

 So Mrs. Dubose can be described as mean, old, addicted, contrary and couragous.


Further Reading:
Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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