Why do Atticus and his children get such different reactions from Mrs. Dubose?

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cldbentley | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose certainly treated Atticus Finch differently than she treated his children.  Mrs. Dubose treated Atticus with respect and took a great amount of pride in revealing her accomplishments to him, while she treated his children with harshness and what seemed to be inconsideration.  The reason for Mrs. Dubose's favorable treatment of Atticus was his kind and respectful attitude toward her; Atticus was repaid in kind for his treatment of her.  Atticus knew about Mrs. Dubose's addiction to morphine and not only did not judge her for it, but was greatly impressed by her success in freeing herself of it despite the suffering it must have caused her.  On the other hand, Mrs. Dubose must have been aware of the children's opinions of her and reacted to it with anger; had Mrs. Dubose truly hated the Finch children, though, she would not have requested Jem's company on any pretenses.