• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Courage in To Kill A Mockingbird

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

English Laterature To Kill a Mockingbird - Courage There are many themes in the book To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee. However, one of the most important is courage. This theme is shown by almost all of the characters in the novel. Bravery is shown in the novel in different ways by different characters. Atticus is probably the most courageous character of the novel. Since Scout narrates the story and she admires her father, she describes with detail his qualities, many of which involve courage. According to Atticus, "courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what", courage is not a man with a gun in his hand, courage is when you fight for what is right regardless of whether you win or lose. Atticus fits into his definition of what "real courage" is and demonstrates it several times throughout the novel. In chapter 10, Atticus showed his children that he was a courageous man when he stepped into the street to face down a rabid dog. But shooting something wasn't really Atticus' idea of courage. He viewed courage on a more intellectual level, as a moral thing, not as something that can be proved with a weapon. Atticus wanted Jem and Scout to know that he was not courageous for being able to shoot a crazy dog dead with one shot; but he is courageous for defending Tom Robinson. ...read more.

Middle

Although he knew it was dangerous and he was scared to go, Jem went to the Radley place because he prefered going there than facing Atticus with explanations. (Both cases would have involved courage.) In chapter 11, Jem destroyed Mrs. Dubose's camellias when it was a well-known rumor that she was armed with a Confederate pistol at all times. Although Jem was familiar with the rumor, his rage pushed him beyond caring that he might be hurt or get into trouble because Mrs. Dubose had bad-mouthed Atticus, and Jem just couldn't take it. Scout is growing up through the novel. Atticus educating her is a great part of what she recounts. Scout shows courage by maturing because maturing involves being brave, having your own opinions and stand up for yourself. When Atticus told Scout to stop fighting the people that mock her Scout had to be brave enough to ignore the harsh remarks and put herself above them. The courage to change is very important, because not everybody is able to do it, and of course changing a habit or something like that can change your life radically. "When I committed myself to a policy of cowardice. Word got around that Scout Finch wouldn't fight anymore, her daddy wouldn't let her." That was an act of great courage because Scout used to fight a lot, but because she had promised to her father that she would stop fighting, she could not fight anymore. ...read more.

Conclusion

His lips parted into a timid smile, and our neighbor's image blurred with my sudden tears. 'Hey, Boo,' I said." He is courageous when he is needed, although he does not like being around other people in society. In chapter 30, Boo was awarded by Heck Tate at the end of the novel: Everyone in the house knew that it was Boo who actually killed Bob Ewell, but it was Heck Tate that said Boo was innocent. He did this because he knew what Mr. Ewell did was wrong. This was his way of thanking Boo for saving Atticus' children: He let an injustice occur. Although he had to lie to protect Boo Radley, he knew that keeping his role in Bob Ewell's death a secret was the right thing to do. To conclude, Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird shows how courage can be shown in different ways. It takes a great deal of courage to tell the truth instead of denying it. Also, to be in minority and remain there, because of your beliefs or other reason, is a courageous act. And not to forget, change is an act of courage of which many people are afraid. Courage is doing what you are afraid of, and in the end the kind of courage that gets you from one moment to another is the courage that matters. Many people showed courage in this book, but ultimately it is Atticus that teaches us that, "Courage is knowing you're licked from the start, but starting anyway." ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Harper Lee section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This is a good essay clearly showing understanding of the novel and the theme of racism throughout the novel.
There are some examples of thoughtful analysis and where further explored and supported by quotes this elevates the essay into the top band.
However there are also areas where statements are inconclusive and need more explanation.
As the essay is focusing on racism more social and historical context would have been useful
****

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 01/03/2012

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Harper Lee essays

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Essay on Prejudice

    "Guilty...guilty...guilty...guilty...guilty..." (Lee 211) is a quote that depicts how Tom is being discriminated. It is quite obvious that Tom is innocent but due to the racism and hatred towards black he was convicted nonetheless. This act is engraved in the reader's mind throughout the entire book, this injustice infuriates the mind and this

  2. Bullet points on To Kill A Mockingbird.

    and Scout about how to act CHAPTER 14: * Scout and Jem hear things about them * Scout is cheeky to Aunt Alexandra * Scout hears Aunt Alexandra and Atticus talking about her * Scout and Jem fight * Dill arrives CHAPTER 15: * Atticus is told that the old

  1. Rewrite a chapter of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' from Jem's viewpoint

    It was the kind of box wedding rings came in, purple velvet with a minute catch. I flicked it open and saw two polished pennies inside, one on top of the other. I looked at them more closely. "Indian-heads," I said.

  2. An Analysis of the Significance of the Setting of To Kill a Mockingbird

    The courthouse is again used as a means of expressing the racism notion though this time a new setting is introduced. In To Kill a Mockingbird, the prosecutors in the high-profile court case, the Ewell's, live on the outskirts of the towns' white community, outside the courthouse, in a dump-like setting referred to as "white trash".

  1. Innocence is destroyed through contact with evil throughout To Kill a Mockingbird. Do you ...

    Due to this, Dill feels "sick, plain sick", demonstrating that children are not accustomed to racial discrimination and to witness it firsthand sickens them. As Dolphus Raymond says "he won't cry, not when he gets a few years on him" suggesting that only children cry, at the sight of racial

  2. A short essay on childhood in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird"

    Told through Scout's perspective and a child's innocent wide-open gaze the story unfolds into a rather quaint portrayal of what it really means to grow up - soaring imaginations, carefree days and exciting childlike adventures. Jem and Scout's misadventures suggest an idyllic childhood tarnished only by the rules of their

  1. How is the idea of prejudice shown in chapter 2-3 in To Kill A ...

    Scout overall was too caught up in the tunnel vision of her own perspective that she was not able to see that Calpurnia was hard on her because she cares about her. Calpurnia also teaches Scout life lessons during Chapter 3 about prejudging others and having stereotypical views of people

  2. Theme of Education Analysed in "To Kill A Mockingbird"

    Scout is annoyed at the fact that she is blamed for something that she didn?t mean for harm. This leads me onto another point to say that she is curious; however her formal education exploits this, and gets her into trouble.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work