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Courage in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

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Introduction

Courage in "To Kill a Mockingbird" What is courage? How do YOU define courage? Hollywood, as usual, tends to get it wrong. Courage is not the bravado gun-slinging action hero type figure. A better definition of courage can be found in "To Kill a Mockingbird" through the actions of an old woman who overcomes her drug addiction, not because it is easy but because it is hard, an African American who helps out a young white woman, despite the dangers this presents in a southern town during the 1930's and by Atticus Finch, a lawyer who dares to defy the immoral standards of society when he truly defends an African American man on trial for rape. Mrs. Dubose was very courageous despite being a nasty, stubborn, mean-spirited old woman. ...read more.

Middle

Tom had known the danger of his situation, yet he was still very concerned for Mayella Ewell and he made sure not to hurt her, although she had been responsible for getting him into the bad situation in the first place. Scout began to understand this, "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived." "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." The greatest demonstration of courage of all is Atticus' fight for Tom Robinson's life. He is wise enough to know that the prejudices of people will never allow justice to be done, but at the same time, he is determined that the truth be told so that those who convict Tom Robinson will be aware that they are convicting an innocent man. ...read more.

Conclusion

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." Atticus stays true to this through the whole novel. Harper Lee beautifully illustrates courage through her character's actions and words. Mrs. Dubose is a cold-hearted old woman but her decency shines through when she shows great courage, facing her drug addiction and ending it. Tom Robinson is courageous through his kindness despite the physical dangers of doing so. Atticus Finch defines courage by downplaying his ability to shoot the mad dog, leading a crusade to let the truth be heard about what really happened to Mayella Ewell and lastly by deciding to keep secret the fact that Boo Radley killed Bob Ewell. Atticus defines and represents courage absolutely in "To Kill a Mockingbird" and in the end Scout has learned that courage is using her mind to solve problems, rather than her fists ...read more.

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