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To Kill a Mockingbird. Discuss the concept of courage as depicted by Mrs. Dubose and Atticus.

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Introduction

"Real courage is- when you know you are licked before you begin, but you begin anyway, and you see it through no matter what..." Discuss the concept of courage as depicted by Mrs. Dubose and Atticus. Harper Lee introduced the concept of moral courage through the image of Mrs. Dubose, a morphine addict who wished to get rid of her painkiller before leaving the world and Atticus Finch, the principled lawyer who went against the prejudiced society of Maycomb to protect a black man, Tom Robinson. Mrs. Dubose had been taking morphine as a painkiller, prescribed by doctors, for years. Before she died, she wanted to get rid of the drug, so that she would die "beholden to nothing and nobody". As an old and sick woman, she had every right for take the drug to live the few months left in peace, "to make things easier", as Atticus said, but she followed her personal principles and chose the other way. ...read more.

Middle

And thus, she died "beholden to nothing and nobody". As Atticus said, "she won", with no guns or pistols but with her own determination, and she was the bravest person he had ever known. Harper Lee could have chosen a more likable character, like Miss Maudie, to show the goodness of people. Instead, she chose Mrs. Dubose, the prejudiced member of Maycomb, who insulted Atticus as "nigger-lover" to show the concept of courage. By doing so, Lee suggests that there is always something good in everybody, no matter how unappealing that person appears to be. Moreover, this courage concept is contrasted with her prejudice, thus becoming more outstanding for the audience. Throughout the novel, Atticus has been portrayed as the model of moral courage. He went against the whole town to protect the innocent black man, Tom Robinson. Before the trial, he had already been insulted by the term "nigger-lover" by many people, including his own family members. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fear or failure was not strong enough to discourage him from his principle; it was like "you know that you are licked before you begin, but you begin no matter what". Even when Atticus faced danger, he did not back off. In front of the Maycomb Jail, he was confronted by the lynch mob, without any weapon or protection from Heck Tate, who had "been called off a snipe hunt". The situation was so alarming that Mr. Underwood had to use his double-barrelled gun to try to cover for Atticus from his office on top of the jail. Atticus was not obligated by law to protect his client but he took on the responsibility so that his client could be judged in court, not by physical action, the kind of courage that Maycomb took as priority. Atticus put himself in danger's way to let the truth be told. Moral courage is Atticus's best asset, making him the most respectable keeper of justice in Maycomb. Therefore, the idea of moral courage is deeply enforced in the novel through the image of Atticus and Mrs. Dubose. ...read more.

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