Who is Mrs. Dubose in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose is a mean old lady who carries a pistol underneath her shawl and yells ugly sentiments to the children as they walk by.
Her significance in the story is to demonstrate a character of courage before Atticus displays his. He in fact uses her to teach the children the discipline of self-control (Jem has to read to her every day for a month because he chopped down all of her flowers), and the true illustation of courage.
Mrs. Dubose exemplifies courage in that although she was addicted to morphine and about to die, out of principle, she decided to wean herself off the drug in order to die from from addiction to a pain killer. At 90-something years old, that was a very disciplined and courageous decision.
Mrs. Dubose (Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose) is a neighbor of the Finches. She is, Scout thinks, a very mean old lady. She tends to be really mean to the kids -- she yells at them as they walk by her house, things like that.
Once, she says something to Jem about Atticus that makes Jem so mad that he wrecks her garden. What she tells him is that Atticus (she implies) is a disgrace to the family because he spends his time "lawing for niggers." For punishment, Atticus makes Jem go and read to Mrs. Dubose every day.