Courage related to Mrs. Dubose conquering her addiction.
Mrs. Dubose was an old woman who had always said bad things about Jem’s father to him. One day, Jem got so angry with her that he cut the tops off all of her flowers. As a consequence, he was required to come and read to her two hours every day for a month. During the times he was reading to her, she occasionally would go into a fit where she would fall into a “sleep” and open he mouth to breathe in and out. Unbeknownst to Scout and Jem, Mrs. Dubose was addicted to morphine, a powerful drug used to reduce pain or induce sleep. Later told by Atticus to them, her fits were because of withdrawal symptoms of the morphine. At the end of the month (and a week), Atticus went over to see Mrs. Dubose. He came back with the tragic news that she had died a few minutes earlier. He told Jem and Scout that “she’d have spent the rest of her life on [morphine] and died without so much agony, but she was too contrary.” Also according to Atticus, “She said she was going to leave this world beholden to nothing and nobody. Jem, when you’re as sick as she was, it’s all right to take anything to make it easier, but it wasn’t all right for her. She said she meant to break herself of it before she died, and that’s what she did.”
As said by many prior drug addicts, it is very difficult to get off of a drug. Mrs. Dubose wanted to just do that. It took up to the time of her death that she was fighting not to be addicted, and she succeeded with her goal. She died as free “as the mountain air” from her addiction. Although it was difficult for her, Mrs. Dubose was courageous and won the battle against the morphine. “Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person [Atticus] ever knew.”
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