To Kill a Mockingbird – Integrity
Toothpaste: it is made up of so many different ingredients. You can look at a tube of toothpaste, study it, observe the colors of the plastic container and notice the size and shape of it. You can guess all you want what’s on the inside, but you will never know until it is squeezed. People: they are made up of so many different things. You can look at them, study their behaviors, and observe their appearances.
You can make many assumptions about what they’re like on the inside, but you will never know their true character until they are squeezed. When a person is put in a tight position it doesn’t make their character, it exposes it. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird there are several characters that are present throughout the book, but one seems to appear out of nowhere in chapter eleven. Her name is Mrs. Dubose, and she has a very interesting character. It has several layers that almost need to be peeled away like an onion.
Integrity is just one of the numerous layers of her character. Integrity is how a person reacts when they are being “squeezed.” Mrs. Dubose has a high standard of morals and she is true to them–she walks her talk. She looks out for people other than herself. She is determined.
Mrs. Dubose is unquestioningly a woman of integrity.
Mrs. Dubose displays integrity by standing up for her beliefs. She has self-appointed herself as the “manners police”, according to the standards she was raised with. The way she was raised children were expected to respect their parents and other elders.
Mrs. Dubose makes a point to call the kids on it whenever they are acting out of line according to her values. She yells at Scout telling her she should be “wearing a dress and camisoles!” Mrs. Dubose also believes that Atticus is wrong for defending a black man. She believes this because she is a product of her environment. In those days black people were considered bad.
Because she had been around for so long, she was not able to accept the new values that the Finch family has embraced. She had a high respect for the Finch lineage, even making a comment about Jem and Scouts mother, saying, “a lovelier lady never lived.” She wasn’t just a mean old lady–Mrs. Dubose couldn’t live with herself and silently watch the kids and Atticus throw away their lives “lawing for niggers” or “waiting on tables.” These were all horrible things according to her values. She had enough integrity in her to try and influence other people.
Whether she was right or not in doing so, she was true to her beliefs.
Mrs. Dubose has integrity in that she looks out for other people. Sometimes she sets her feelings aside to help other people out. She endures vicious, false rumors and doesn’t take them out on the kids. Even though she may holler at them as they walk by, it’s all in good intent! When Jem ruined her camellias she had mercy on him.
She didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to make him work hard, and for no good. Instead she had him do something that would help her out at the same time–something that would accomplish a bigger task, the task of breaking her addiction. Atticus obviously knew that she was all talk and that he rumors were false (about her having a gun), or else he wouldn’t have sent Jem all alone to go read to her. After Jem had been reading to her daily for some time, she began to just release them instead of them being shooed away when the alarm went off. Even though she could have manipulated them to stay–and Atticus would have made them stay–she let them go. She would correct Jem every time he made a mistake.
Jem would get so annoyed by her, but she would correct him anyway like a teacher corrects a student. She was looking out for him. Even though she seems like a strict, old lady, Mrs. Dubose really does .