SparkNotes: To Kill a Mockingbird: Character List

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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

  

by Harper Lee

  • Characters /
  • Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose

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Summary
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  • Topics

  • Character Roles (Protagonist, Antagonist…)
  • Tools of Characterization

  • Intro
  • Summary
  • Themes
  • Quotes
  • Characters

  • Jean Louise Finch (Scout)
  • Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem)
  • Atticus Finch
  • Calpurnia
  • Charles Baker Harris (Dill)
  • Arthur Radley (Boo)
  • Tom Robinson
  • Mayella Ewell
  • Robert E. Lee Ewell
  • Alexandra Hancock
  • Maudie Atkinson
  • Heck Tate
  • Link Deas
  • Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
  • Caroline Fisher
  • John Hale Finch (Uncle Jack)
  • Grace Merriweather
  • Reverend Sykes
  • Judge John Taylor
  • Dolphus Raymond
  • Braxton Bragg Underwood
  • Walter Cunningham Sr.
  • Walter Cunningham Jr.
  • Helen Robinson
  • Miss Stephanie Crawford
  • Horace Gilmer
  • Lula
  • Nathan Radley
  • Analysis
  • Questions
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  • Table of Contents
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Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose

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Character Analysis

Boo may be the ghost of Scout’s neighborhood, but Mrs. Dubose is the dragon. Scout introduces her as “plain hell” (1.14):

Jem and I hated her. If she was on the porch when we passed, we would be raked by her wrathful gaze, subjected to ruthless interrogation regarding our behavior, and given a melancholy prediction on what we would amount to when we grew up, which was always nothing. (11.3)

Despite being confined to a wheelchair most of the time, Mrs. Dubose inspires rage and fear just through the power of her words. Closer up, her appearance alone is enough to gross Scout out:

Cords of saliva would collect on her lips; she would draw them in, then open her mouth again. Her mouth seemed to have a private existence of its own. It worked separate and apart from the rest of her, out and in, like a clam hole at low tide. Occasionally it would say, “Pt,” like some viscous substance coming to a boil. (11.86)

For Scout, Mrs. Dubose is a distressing, barely human force that takes over their afternoons after Jem goes crazy on her camellias. It’s not until after she dies that Scout and Jem get a sense of what’s going on behind the drool and venom: Mrs. Dubose is a morphine addict who had vowed to go clean before she died, and enlisted Jem and Scout (without their knowledge) to keep her off the stuff for longer and longer periods of time. Atticus tells the kids the lesson he hopes they’ve learned from her.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. 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 I ever knew.” (11)

Even though no one would have blamed Mrs. Dubose if she had wanted to leave this world in narcotic bliss, she decided to try to do what she felt was right, no matter how impossible it seemed or how painful it was.

Hmm, sounds like a person whose name begins with “A” and ends with “tticus.”

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To Kill a Mockingbird


by:
Harper Lee

Character List

Scout Finch – The narrator and protagonist of the story. Jean Louise “Scout” Finch
lives with her father, Atticus, her brother, Jem, and their black
cook, Calpurnia, in Maycomb. She is intelligent and, by the standards
of her time and place, a tomboy. Scout has a combative streak and
a basic faith in the goodness of the people in her community. As
the novel progresses, this faith is tested by the hatred and prejudice
that emerge during Tom Robinson’s trial. Scout eventually develops
a more grown-up perspective that enables her to appreciate human
goodness without ignoring
human evil.

Read an
in-depth analysis of Scout Finch.

Atticus Finch –  Scout
and Jem’s father, a lawyer in Maycomb descended from an old local
family. A widower with a dry sense of humor, Atticus has instilled
in his children his strong sense of morality and justice. He is
one of the few residents of Maycomb committed to racial equality.
When he agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man charged with
raping a white woman, he exposes himself and his family to the anger
of the white community. With his strongly held convictions, wisdom,
and empathy, Atticus functions as the novel’s moral backbone.

Read an
in-depth analysis of Atticus Finch.

Jem Finch –  Scout’s brother and constant playmate at the beginning
of the story. Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch is something of a typical American boy, refusing
to back down from dares and fantasizing about playing football.
Four years older than Scout, he gradually separates himself from
her games, but he remains her close companion and protector throughout
the novel. Jem moves into adolescence during the story, and his
ideals are shaken badly by the evil and injustice that he perceives
during the trial of Tom Robinson.

Read an
in-depth analysis of Jem Finch.

Arthur “Boo” Radley –  A recluse who never sets foot outside his house,
Boo dominates the imaginations of Jem, Scout, and Dill. He is a
powerful symbol of goodness swathed in an initial shroud of creepiness,
leaving little presents for Scout and Jem and emerging at an opportune moment
to save the children. An intelligent child emotionally damaged by
his cruel father, Boo provides an example of the threat that evil
poses to innocence and goodness. He is one of the novel’s “mockingbirds,” a
good person injured by the evil
of mankind.
Bob Ewell –  A
drunken, mostly unemployed member of Maycomb’s poorest family. In
his knowingly wrongful accusation that Tom Robinson raped his daughter,
Ewell represents the dark side of the South: ignorance, poverty,
squalor, and hate-filled racial prejudice.
Charles Baker “Dill” Harris –  Jem and Scout’s summer neighbor and friend. Dill
is a diminutive, confident boy with an active imagination. He becomes
fascinated with Boo Radley and represents the perspective of childhood innocence
throughout the novel.
Miss Maudie Atkinson –  The Finches’ neighbor, a sharp-tongued widow, and
an old friend of the family. Miss Maudie is almost the same age
as Atticus’s younger brother, Jack. She shares Atticus’s passion
for justice and is the children’s best friend among Maycomb’s adults.
Calpurnia –  The
Finches’ black cook. Calpurnia is a stern disciplinarian and the
children’s bridge between the white world and her own black community.
Aunt Alexandra –  Atticus’s
sister, a strong-willed woman with a fierce devotion to her family.
Alexandra is the perfect Southern lady, and her commitment to propriety
and tradition often leads her to clash with Scout.
Mayella Ewell –  Bob
Ewell’s abused, lonely, unhappy daughter. Though one can pity Mayella
because of her overbearing father, one cannot pardon her for her shameful
indictment of Tom Robinson.
Tom Robinson –  The
black field hand accused of rape. Tom is one of the novel’s “mockingbirds,”
an important symbol of innocence destroyed by evil.
Link Deas –  Tom
Robinson’s employer. In his willingness to look past race and praise
the integrity of Tom’s character, Deas epitomizes the opposite of
prejudice.
Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose –  An elderly, ill-tempered, racist woman who lives
near the Finches. Although Jem believes that Mrs. Dubose is a thoroughly
bad woman, Atticus admires her for the courage with which she battles
her morphine addiction.
Nathan Radley –  Boo
Radley’s older brother. Scout thinks that Nathan is similar to the
deceased Mr. Radley, Boo and Nathan’s father. Nathan cruelly cuts
off an important element of Boo’s relationship with Jem and Scout
when he plugs up the knothole in which Boo leaves presents for the
children.
Heck Tate –  The
sheriff of Maycomb and a major witness at Tom Robinson’s trial.
Heck is a decent man who tries to protect the innocent from danger.
Mr. Underwood –  The
publisher of Maycomb’s newspaper. Mr. Underwood respects Atticus
and proves his ally.
Mr. Dolphus Raymond –  A wealthy white man who lives with his black mistress
and mulatto children. Raymond pretends to be a drunk so that the
citizens of Maycomb will have an explanation for his behavior. In
reality, he is simply jaded by the hypocrisy of white society and prefers
living among blacks.
Mr. Walter Cunningham – A poor farmer and part of the mob that seeks to
lynch Tom Robinson at the jail. Mr. Cunningham displays his
human goodness when Scout’s politeness compels him to disperse the
men at the jail.
Walter Cunningham –  Son of Mr. Cunningham and classmate of Scout.
Walter cannot afford lunch one day at school and accidentally gets
Scout in trouble.

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Scout Finch

More Help

  • Scout Finch: Character Analysis

    CHARACTERS
  • Plot Analysis

    MAIN IDEAS
  • Is justice achieved in To Kill a Mockingbird?

    MAIN IDEAS
  • Quotes by Theme

    QUOTES
  • Themes

    MAIN IDEAS
  • Review Quiz

    FURTHER STUDY

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