Chapter 11

The day after Jem's 12th birthday finds the two walking into town to spend his birthday money. The downside to taking the route into town is that they have to walk past Mrs. Dubose's house, a cantankerous, bitter old woman who lives at the end of the street. She never has anything good to say to anyone, but Atticus constantly tells the two of them to ignore her foul words and treat her with courtesy and respect.

Normally they're able to do this, but today their patience is pushed thin when she starts insulting Atticus's decision to defend Tom Robinson. They wait until they're on their way back home from town and suddenly Jem starts destroying Mrs. Dubose's flowers with Scout's baton wand, chopping them viciously off the bush and scattering them across her yard. When Atticus comes home later that evening, he knows he's in for it worse than he's ever been.

Atticus makes Jem go to her house and talk with her, and when Jem returns he says that she is making him read to her everyday for the next month. When Monday comes around, Scout goes with him to keep him company, and the days drag by.

When she dies a month later, Atticus informs them that Mrs. Dubose was a morphine addict who had decided she was not going to die addicted to the drug. Jem's afternoons of reading to her broke her from her addiction, and she was able to die in peace.