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

To Kill a Mockingbird. How does Harper Lee present and develop the idea of real courage?

Extracts from this document...


Coursework Task: How does Harper Lee present and develop the idea of ?real courage?? The focal theme is linked to the title. Mockingbird is the theme in the book. It represents the idea of innocence, so it would be erroneous to kill a mockingbird. But throughout the story, many metaphoric mockingbirds are wronged or obliterated by a number of characters, and these Characters are; ?Jem, Dill?, ?Mr Raymond?, ?Boo Radley? and ?Tom Robinson?. The idea of ?mockingbird? is referred to numerous times. After Tom Robinson is shot and killed, Mr Underwood appraises his violent death to ?the senseless slaughter of songbirds?. But the most important quote is when Miss Maudie explains to Scout that the ?Mockingbirds don?t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That?s why it?s a sin to kill a mockingbird? (Found in the beginning of the story). There are many themes those of which include; Class, gender roles, laws, death of innocence and racial injustice. However, Courage dominates among them all alongside racial and social prejudice. Hence, there are several kinds of different courage; Basic courage is requisite to overcome childish illogical fears, such as the superstition towards ?Boo Radley?. There is also a foremost dissimilarity between the physical and moral courage. Initially, Courage is shown to be physical. ...read more.


By the end of the novel, Scout meets him and he is finally human to her. Boo is the one of the book?s most important mockingbirds, and although he has suffered, he remains a symbol of good. There are also gothic elements that foreshadow the plot but are balanced by traditional values. Examples are the fire that destroyed Miss Maudie?s house and the town bonding together to retrieve her possessions, the mad dog shot by Atticus, and the dark Halloween night when Bob Ewell attacked Jem and Scout but were saved by Boo Radley. Scout Finch is a curious girl both mentally and physically. She is bright, thoughtful and acts with good intentions all at an early age. Distinct most girls, Scout are a sort of tomboy. She replaces dresses with overalls, plays with boys (Jem and Dill) and their games and fights other boys in school with no fear. That is a sign of physical courage. Scout starts as an innocent five year old with little understanding of evil. As the novel progresses, she encounters evil for the first time, in the form of racial prejudice. Throughout the book, Atticus nurtures Scout so that she develops and her strong character prevails over any evil she experiences. She retains her conscience without becoming corrupt or cynical. ...read more.


Throughout the book, Atticus is consistently and rigidly committed to justice and proves this when he believes for a moment that Jem stabbed Mr Ewell as self-defence. Jem Finch is a young boy entering puberty. Early on, he tries to conquer his fear. He runs past the Radley place, touches it and later returns there while he risks being shot at, just to fetch his trousers that were caught in the fence. Atticus tells him that this is only physical courage, and that it takes more to understand. He becomes confused and vulnerable when justice fails with Tom Robinson. But he learns from the traumatic times by duplicating the things Atticus had taught him and advises Scout. An example is when he protects a roly-poly bug from Scout because it has done nothing to harm her. Through the end of the novel, we have learned the new definition; real courage. Our ideas on courage were manipulated. The novel itself is about the investigation of the good and evil in human philosophy. It is depicted through Scout and Jem, childhood innocence. They first assumed everyone was good since they have never seen evil but once they did, they confronted it and tried to understand. Atticus teaches his children the ethics of sympathy, understanding and courage. He appreciates superior qualities while understanding other people?s viewpoint of living. Page ...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

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. Marked by a teacher

    To Kill a Mockingbird: How Harper Lee presents the character of Atticus Finch

    4 star(s)

    I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do somethin' again." This quote is narrated when Scout asks Atticus if he defends Negroes, Atticus's response shows that he is willing to sacrifice his prestigiousness within Maycomb County just to maintain his morals; this indicates his courage as well as Atticus being a moral man.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Examine the different kinds of prejudice and injustice which you have found in 'To ...

    4 star(s)

    Lee expresses segregation in the community through matters like housing, worship and in the courtroom. In the town of Maycomb many of the white people live in the centre of town, near the shops and places of employment. Unlike the black people who are forced to live on the edges of Maycomb, in the roughest areas.

  1. How does Harper Lee present Maycomb in "To kill a Mockingbird"?

    She is not accepted in Maycomb as Maycomb is in South America and Miss Caroline is from North America. This is because of Americas Civil War when the North and South fought. Maycomb holds grudges and won't forgive. Miss Caroline fits the stereotype of a weak and pathetic woman.

  2. How does Scout develop and mature as the novel progresses?

    This historical event influenced Harper Lee and resulted in her mentioning the racial segregation that was apparent in Maycomb County. Maycomb is set in the Deep South if the United States, where there is racial tension as a result of the Civil War, in which the southern states of America

  1. According to Atticus Finch, one of the main characters in To Kill A Mockingbird, ...

    a lie about what really happened the night Bob Ewell was found stabbed to death. Atticus put his life and career in the line. He knew, as an officer of the court, that withholding information from an investigation could have gotten him thrown in jail.

  2. How influential is the setting of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' to the novel's plot ...

    Another important theme in the book is sexism. Unlike racism most victims of sexism don't mind it. Most people are happy to conform to the stereotype. The stereotypical male likes sport, owns a gun and enjoys shooting. The stereotypical female does cooking wears dresses and looks after the children.

  1. Discuss the importance of Boo Radley in relation to the themes and plot of ...

    Miss Maudie also shows courage after her house burns down. She is not at all upset, that her house has burnt down. "You ain't griven' Miss Maudie?" Miss Maudie shows her courage by not letting the accident get to her and carrying on with her life, she replies by saying,

  2. How effectively does Harper Lee convey her ideas about prejudice in her novel To ...

    adults, which shows the readers how deep rooted prejudice is within Maycomb. Another prejudice, social prejudice, can be viewed in chapter 8, pg 70 when Mr. Avery blames Maycomb County's' weather on the children; this could be because as there are 'boundaries' in Maycomb County, the elder community are not

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