In "To Kill a Mockingbird", what did Jem do when Mrs. Dubose said that Atticus was a lawyer to black people?

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engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem became so outraged and offended at Mrs. Dubose's comments about Atticus that he lopped off all the buds from her prize camellia bushes. Mrs. Dubose was exceptionally proud of her yard and its floral accessories, and Jem's "decapitating" of her flower bushes is done as an act of vengeful spite.

In a twist of plot, Atticus returns home from work to discover the damage that Jem has worked upon the shrubs, and demands that he go have a frank and personal talk with Mrs. Dubose herself. Jem complies, and Mrs. Dubose demands that he not only clean up and repair the damage to her lawn, but that he also report to her house every afternoon for a month to read to her. Atticus then enforces the sentence laid down by Mrs. Dubose, who later dies.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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