To Kill a Mockingbird

Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose Character Analysis

Mrs. Dubose is a widow who lives two doors down from the Finches. She’s ancient and unspeakably mean, shouting abuse from her porch at everyone, even children. Some, like Cecil, walk further every day to avoid her. She remains a force to be avoided until she insults Atticus for defending Tom Robinson in front of Jem, which spurs Jem to hack the buds off of her camellias. Following this, Mrs. Dubose and Atticus force Jem to read to her every afternoon for five weeks. Scout finds Mrs. Dubose’s appearance and home repulsive—she drools, her house smells oppressive, and she seems to barely listen to Jem while continuing to insult Jem and Atticus. Following her death, Atticus explains that Mrs. Dubose was a morphine addict who, while undeniably mean and racist, did a courageous thing by breaking herself of her addiction before her death.

Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose Quotes in To Kill a Mockingbird

The To Kill a Mockingbird quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose or refer to Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Warner Books edition of To Kill a Mockingbird published in 1960.
Chapter 11 Quotes

It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.

Page Number: 115-16
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other To Kill a Mockingbird quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

“The one that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

Related Characters: Atticus Finch (speaker), Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 31 Quotes

A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishing-pole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention.

It was fall, and his children fought on the sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's [...] Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woes and triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive.

Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog.

Summer, and he watched his children's heart break. Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him.

Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.

Page Number: 320-21
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire To Kill a Mockingbird LitChart as a printable PDF.
To kill a mockingbird.pdf.medium

Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose Character Timeline in To Kill a Mockingbird

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose appears in To Kill a Mockingbird. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
...that Cecil goes an extra mile per day to avoid the Radley Place and mean Mrs. Dubose . They decide to keep them until school starts again in case they belong to... (full context)
Chapter 6
Prejudice Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
...night before he leaves. They look for Mr. Avery, who lives across the street from Mrs. Dubose and whom they once watched urinate an impressive distance. Dill casually suggests they go for... (full context)
Chapter 11
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
...the past and Scout and Jem’s games take them further up the street and past Mrs. Dubose ’s house. Mrs. Dubose lives alone with a black servant named Jessie and is rumored... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
...he decides to buy a miniature train for himself and a twirling baton for Scout. Mrs. Dubose hurls insults at the children, terrifying Scout, but Jem keeps his composure until Mrs. Dubose... (full context)
Prejudice Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...broken baton and a camellia, Jem confesses, and Atticus icily sends him to apologize to Mrs. Dubose . Scout is terrified—she believes Mrs. Dubose will shoot Jem—but her anger at Atticus for... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
...returns home. He says that he said he was sorry, but he isn’t, and that Mrs. Dubose wants him to read to her every day after school. Atticus says that Jem must... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Prejudice Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
That afternoon, Jem tells Atticus that Mrs. Dubose is nasty, drools, and has fits. Atticus reminds him that sick people don’t always look... (full context)
Prejudice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
A month later, Atticus enters as Jem reads to Mrs. Dubose . With a smile, Mrs. Dubose tells Atticus that it’s 5:14, and the alarm is... (full context)
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
A month or so later, the phone rings and Atticus goes to Mrs. Dubose ’s house. He returns much later with a candy box and explains that Mrs. Dubose... (full context)
Chapter 12
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
Seemingly overnight after Mrs. Dubose ’s death, Jem becomes moody and starts telling Scout what to do, including to act... (full context)