Mrs. Dubose is a feisty old woman who has suffered from an illness for a very long time. She knows that she is going to die soon, so she has Atticus draw up her will. While discussing the will with him, Mrs. Dubose tells him about her desire to kick her...
Mrs. Dubose is a feisty old woman who has suffered from an illness for a very long time. She knows that she is going to die soon, so she has Atticus draw up her will. While discussing the will with him, Mrs. Dubose tells him about her desire to kick her morphine addiction before she dies. Atticus thinks that is a very courageous goal; so when Mrs. Dubose achieves it, Atticus tells Jem about it to teach him about courage. Mrs. Dubose shows courage by fighting her illness for years, conquering her addiction to morphine, and dying free of any drugs.
First of all, Atticus tells Jem that Mrs. Dubose had been very sick for many years. That's a tough battle to fight alone. Sure, she had her servant Jessie, but really, she had no family to support her during her many years of illness. Rather than give up, Mrs. Dubose kept on living. Next, the doctor put her on morphine as a pain-killer for many of those years. As a result, she became addicted to it. Atticus explains Mrs. Dubose's goals, as follows:
"She said she was going to leave this world beholden to nothing and nobody. . . She said she meant to break herself of it before she died, and that's what she did" (111).
In the end, Mrs. Dubose died free "as the mountain air" from her drug addiction. Atticus tells Jem that he thinks she is one of the most courageous people he ever knew because she never gave up on her goals. He explains that courage comes from making and keeping a goal even though you know you might lose. Furthermore, Atticus wants Jem to know that a courageous person doesn't need to use a gun. A brave person sees his goals through to the end, no matter what, and through whatever peaceful ways he knows.