Atticus takes on the defence of Tom Robinson, a Negro. Scout is taunted about this by various children, including her cousin Francis at a family Christmas gathering - he calls Atticus a 'nigger lover'. Jem and Scout's admiration for their father rises enormously, though, when he shoots a dangerous mad dog with one shot.
When old Mrs Dubose also insults the children because of Atticus' involvement in Tom Robinson's case, Jem is so furious that he beheads every camellia in her yard. As a punishment, Jem has to read to her every night for a month. When she dies, Atticus explains to the children that she was a morphine addict who was trying to break the habit and succeeded just before her death, and that rather than hate her they should admire her courage.
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