What three encounters or instances did Jem learn about tolerance from reading to Mrs.Dubose in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Strangely enough, Jem does indeed learn elements of tolerance from the intolerant Mrs. Dubose.

1. He learns that even though people might be illogically prejudice or in Mrs. Dubose's case, downright racist, those people are still human and deserve compassion.  This might be the only way to show them the ignorance of their racism.

2. Jem also learns Atticus's adage that "you have to climb into someone else's skin and walk around in it" to really understand a person.  As Jem sits by and reads to Mrs. Dubose while she goes through morphine withdrawal, he pities her instead of mocking her. He would never have been able to pity her if he had not put himself in her place or seen firsthand what her lonely life was like.

3. Finally, Mrs. Dubose teaches Jem that being tolerant of someone often leads to caring for that person.  The children begin the chapter being afraid of and hating Mrs. Dubose, but as they get to know her, they tolerate her, and when she dies, Jem is demoralized and angry that she died.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question