Why Was Mrs. Dubose A Great Lady: An Insight According To Atticus Finch

The Many Faces of Courage

Have you ever asked yourself what it meant to be courageous? What do you consider to be a courageous act? Is it serving our country in the military by putting their lives at risk? Or is it helping a young child who is getting bullied get through hard times? Courage can have so many meanings; it all depends on the person you are. Everybody has done some courageous acts, but they are all different because of the person you are.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is one of the most widely read books ever in the United States. This is due to many reasons; It may be the super exciting story of the Finch family or the disgustingly fascinating acts of discrimination that happen throughout the story due to the story taking place in the 1930s. Or what if the courageous acts take place in the story? Mrs. Dubose is an elderly lady in the story “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

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According to Atticus, Was Mrs. Dubose a Great Lady?

Atticus say that Mrs. Dubose died free, as the successful endeavor of withstanding her addiction impacted both her and Jem greatly.  There are two ways in which the audience typically looks at her. Mrs. Dubose is an addict to morphine, which commonly leads to the reader just looking at her as a morphine addict. However, others have the heart to look at her as more than just an addict. Put yourself in her shoes, she does not want to be addicted to a heavy drug, but she is, and she is not proud of it, but is open about it, which takes strength in itself.

Mrs. Dubose makes it her life goal to be clean from morphine by the time she dies. Without letting the Finch kids know that she is addicted, she tells them to let her take less every day. Eventually, she would be completely clean from the drug, but unfortunately, before that could happen, Mrs. Dubose passed away. So if you look at it that way, she may seem more courageous and less of an addict. 

People are always quick to look at the bad in people before they even consider the good in people. Everybody is courageous in their unique way due to the hard things each of us has been through. So what do you think? Do you think Dubose is courageous? I think she has loads of courage; Yes, she did addict herself to morphine, but that may have been in her younger years. People change, and it is usually for the better, which in this case holds to be true. She tried her absolute hardest to quit the drug. She made it her life goal to come clean before her death. There is always more to people than you think; everybody has courage in their way. Before you judge someone, think, what have they been through? Why are they the way they are? Put yourself in their shoes, and use your courage to improve their lives.


  1. Lee, H. (1960). To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co.

The American Educational System: Impacts On Student Mental Health And The Need For Reform

Education in the USA: A Historical Commitment with Modern Challenges

We have all been there at least once. From the early age of only 3–4 years old, we are all forced to leave the comfort of our room 5 days a week way too early in the morning to go to school. The American school system seems significant, especially since we provide the education, transportation, and meals needed when people cannot afford them (Singer). There is almost no excuse not to get an education. However, citizens are still constantly criticizing it, creating controversy within America. However, it may be more vexing than just working up to the day you finally throw your graduation cap into the air.

Problems with Student Engagement: Going Beyond Surface Observations

Let us start with the basics: students’ behavior in schools. It is more common than not to see teachers complaining about uninterested students. “Too many 18-year-old Americans, meanwhile, text one another under their desks, check email, decline to take notes, and appear tired and disengaged,” Kara Miller wrote (Jaschik). It is easy for teachers, who are paid to do what they do, to look at some students and think they are lazy and want to go home and play on their smartphones. Although I agree with Miller that students are distracted and uninterested, I think there are several reasons behind this.

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Nick Kraakman states that the way the school works currently is “Nothing more than a memory test and leaves no room at all for creative thinking.” Kraakman brings up a solid argument in the long debated topic: our way of ‘learning’ is to cram students with a ton of info and test them on how well they remembered it. Of course, students will be uninterested, especially if they have something going on in their life causing some stress. One in every five high school students imagine or consider suicide, and doctors are writing more than 2 million antidepressant prescriptions per year (Hosansky). It is commonplace these days to see students bothered by something; most push it off as nothing. Your mental health is in your brain; pushing it aside 7-8 hours a day for 3/4s of the year is not easy. However, when you look more into what students are going through nowadays, it makes sense.

Although it is excellent for students to have a wide range of knowledge from all subjects, no student should be forced into a class they do not want to take and be expected to do outstanding in it. Especially when the student knows the subject is not an area they are strong. In my first year of high school, and even arguably eighth grade, kids might not be able to tell you exactly what they want to major in in college, but they can tell you what they are good at and bad at. That being known gives them a general idea of what pathway they want to head down. High school should be a time for kids to explore all sorts of classes, but instead, we are held to strict standards on what classes we have to take and pass because all of them will become a mathematician or a scientist.

The Challenge of Modern Education: Beyond Memory Tests

Kids are so eager to come to school, and by 12-13 years old, that excitement dies out; it shows, too. In 2014, 5.7% of 12-year-olds reported having had at least one major depressive episode in the past 12 months. It jumps to 8.7% in 13-year-olds and 15.1% in 17-year-olds (Teen et al. & Facts). It is common sense that as you grow up, you have more responsibilities to handle, and school gets harder & harder.

However, at 16, there is only so much you can do at once without one day breaking down. Managing a job, sports, youth groups, family events, doctor appointments, hygiene, relationships/friendships, all while going to school 7-8 hours a day, can get overwhelming. It is proven by neuroscientists that teenagers are biologically prone to go to sleep around midnight and not feel fully awake and engaged until between 9 AM and 10 AM. It remains this way until around 21 for males and 19 for females (Knapton). However, 43% of public high schools in the U.S. start before 8 AM (McKibben). Although kids might eventually get used to all this, they may need to do more mentally well and be happy with it.

Sleep Deprivation: A Hidden Issue in the Education System

Another significant factor is that teens are recommended to have 9 ½ hours of sleep every night, which would land you going to bed around 9 to wake up to be able to eat, get ready, and leave on time to get to school. However, let us be honest with ourselves; this rarely happens. ? of high schoolers report sleeping less than 7 hours nightly (McKibben). However, if the student was lucky enough to be one of the lucky ? that gets more, those who suffer from anxiety and depression are more likely to get less than 6 hours of sleep per night (Rasina). Depression and anxiety can make it extremely hard to get out of bed, let alone put your mind to overloaded school assignments.

Mental Health and its Impact on Education

Students, more often than not, have struggled with symptoms of a mental illness at some point in their life, which can make it extremely difficult to perform well in school. Today, the typical high school student deals with the same anxiety as a psychiatric patient in the 1950s (Rasina). To think that all of the anxiety we have built up over the years has been pushed aside as usual and no big deal is insane. Parents insist that you have to force students to do it, and although that may get them to submit a paper, it does not help their mentality, which is precisely what they need to be successful.

Stress levels have been extremely high in the past years, with adults averaging to rate themselves at 5.1, while teens averaging 5.8, and 34% of teens predict their stress to increase in the next year (Bethone). Since we have regarded this as usual, 42% of teens reported not doing enough to manage their stress (Bethone). In other words, teens are statistically proven to be more stressed than adults, potentially leading to mental illnesses or chronic stress. Stress can affect your sleep, exercise, and even eating patterns. While some stress can be good, school is miles beyond the line that marks the healthy amount.

Some may argue that school is fine the way it is and that students are just lazy. The public high school rate was up to 83% in 2014-2015, and most states had an 80-89% graduation rate, if not more (Public High School Graduation Rates). “Even in my engineering classes, many of the U.S. Students expect to be given A’s for inhaling and exhaling, and look at you like you have four heads if you suggest that perhaps coming to class, doing homework, and studying might improve their grade,” Kara Miller says (Jaschkin). It is proven that technology has taken over a big part of millennials and kids of Generation Z, with 1 in every two youths aged 12-18 feeling addicted to their smartphones or other mobile devices (Ladika). Suicide rates have also declined in the past 30 years in ages 10-21 year-olds (Hosansky).

Although I see Miller’s point, she overlooks the deeper problem of why students react this way by focusing on the school work and only the school work. The issue does not fall in what they do in alternative to schoolwork that’s due tomorrow; it falls into why they are doing it. Although you do not see the physical aspects of a mental illness, that does not mean it is not there. An analysis found that almost one in five children suffer from an emotional or behavioral illness, nearly triple the level of 20 years ago (Hosansky). People of older generations seem to underestimate younger generations of kids these days and think they know their kids better than they do themselves. Kids can get lazy, yes, but parents need to look at it from a different point of view, not that they want to go and sleep all day.

Standardized Testing: A One-Size-Fits-All Approach?

Some students have no mental health problems and no problems with fitting everything they need to do into their schedule. Although significant, it works that way for them; for many, it is unrealistic. In other words, everybody is different, and what works for this person might (and probably will not) work for the person right next to them, which should not be considered harmful. However, then why are all students expected to learn the same way, let alone take a test that determines their admission to colleges the same way? Former dean of Admissions for Bates College William Hiss says it best: “The human mind is simply so complex and so multifaceted and fluid, that trying to find a single measurement tool that will be reliable across the enormous populations of American students is simply a trip up a blind alley.” (Sheffer)

On top of this, one study found that, on average, SAT scores increase with every additional $20,000 in family income (Raines), proving that SAT/ACTs are more of a way to test how well of an education you can receive, not how much you truly know. Although the SAT/ACT can provide another chance to show a college your potential if your GPA is not the best, it is just not realistic for it to work for everyone. With young minds still developing and everybody being different, and it being only one test when you go to high school for four years, it is not righteous to determine a big chunk of someone’s future from one singular test.

Overall, education has great potential and could be a fantastic thing. However, the school was created to teach children to read the bible, to believe scripture without questioning it, and to obey authority figures without questioning them (Gray). Although today it is not as extreme as it was then, it is not precisely miles off. If parents and teachers want what is best for kids and what will give them the interest to learn, then it is time for a change.


  1. Bethune, Sophie. “Teen Stress Rivals That of Adults.” American Psychology Association, April 2014 
  2. Gray, Peter. “Is the American School System Damaging Our Kids?.” Reader’s Digest 
  3. Hosansky, David. (2004, February 13). “Youth suicide.” CQ Researcher, 13 February 2004. 
  4. Jaschik, Scott. “Are American Teens Lazy?.” Inside Higher Ed, 4 January 2010 
  5. Knapton, Sarah. “Teenagers to start school at 10am in Oxford University sleep experiment.” The Telegraph, 9 October 2014 
  6. Kraakman, Nick. “Why Our Current Education System Sucks.” Value Spreadsheet, 5 July 2014. 
  7. Ladika, Susan. “Technology addiction.” CQ researcher, 20 April 2018 
  8. McKibben, Sarah. “Wake Up Calls (Fast Facts).” Start School Later, April 2014 

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