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According to Atticus Finch, one of the main characters in To Kill A Mockingbird, "Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what."

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Webster's dictionary defines courage as "mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty." According to Atticus Finch, one of the main characters in To Kill A Mockingbird, "Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." (Chapter 11, Page 124) No matter how you define it, Harper Lee definitely portrays the theme of courage in this book. It is one of the most predominant themes and is shown in many of the characters. All of the characters have a different view as to what courage is and they all show it a different way, however they do show courage in their everyday lives. For a younger character, like Scout, courage is most often associated with a physical act that is usually dangerous. It is hard for young children like that to realize that greater courage is shown in other aspects of life. Scout sees an example of courage in her father when he shoots the mad dog. Although Atticus did not think of it as very courageous, Jem and Scout were proud of their father and the courage he showed in the situation. He was not trying to prove anything, yet they were still impressed. Later on in the story, Jem and Scout encounter the vindictive Mrs. Dubose. "Your father's no better than the niggers and trash he works for!" (Chapter 11, Page 113) When she bad- mouthed Atticus like that, Jem decided that the best way to settle things was to ruin Mrs. Dubose's camellias. After Atticus heard about this stunt, Jem was made to read to her every afternoon for a month. Mrs. Dubose was a very sick lady, and had morphine to ease her pain. It was not until after she died that Atticus explained to Jem and Scout how courageous the lady was because she knew she was dying but was still determined to die free of the morphine. ...read more.

Middle

This helps the children see the real courage that Atticus possesses. Page 112 Chapter 12 Quote: "'It's not necessary to tell all you know. It's not ladylike -in the second place, folks don't like to have someone around knowin' more than they do. It aggravates 'em. You're not gonna change any of them by talkin' right, they've got to want to learn themselves, and when they don't want to learn there's nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language.'" Page 126 Analysis: This quote explains Calipurnia's understanding of different kinds of people. The fact that Cal talks proper in the Finch home proves that she has class, and cares about the way that she is perceived. On the other hand, she also shows respect for the people at her church by talking like they do. She also sets an example for Scout by telling her what is ladylike. Chapter 13 Quote: "I never understood her preoccupation with heredity. Somewhere, I had received the impression that Fine Folks were people who did the best they could with the sense they had, but Aunt Alexandra was of the opinion, obliquely expressed, that the longer a family had been squatting on one patch of land the finer it was." Page 130 Analysis: This passage shows the differences between Aunt Alexandra and Scout. Even though Scout is young, she has a more mature understanding of people than that of Aunt Alexandra. This also shows Scout's wisdom. Chapter 14 Quote: "'That's because you can't hold something in your mind but a little while,' said Jem. 'It's different with grown folks, we-' His maddening superiority was unbearable these days. He did not want to do anything but read and go off by himself." Page 138 Analysis: The Finch children's feelings toward each other have changed. Scout now has the impression that Jem feels superior toward her and no longer treats her as a playmate. ...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." 112 Calpernia: "It is not necessary to tell all you know. It's not ladylike- in the second place, folks don't like to have somebody around knowin' more than they do. It aggravates 'em. You're not gonna change any of them by talkin' right, they've got to want to learn themselves, and when they don't want to learn there's nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language." 126 Scout: "Somewhere, I had received the impression that Fine Folks were people who did the best they could with the sense they had, but Aunt Alexandra was of the opinion, obliquely expressed, that the longer a family had been squatting on one patch of land the finer it was." 130 Reverend Sykes: "Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'." 211 Atticus: "So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I'd rather it be me than that houseful of children out there." 211 Atticus: "As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it-whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash." 220 Aunt Alexendra: "'Don't be silly, Jean Louise,' said Aunt Alexandra. 'The thing is, you can scrub Walter Cunningham till her shines, you can put him in shoes and a new suit, but he'll never be like Jem. Besides, there's a drinking streak in that family a mile wide. Finch women aren't interested in that sort of people.'" 224 Scout: "Naw, Jem, I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks." 227 ...read more.

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