Atticus Finch: The Definition of Courage
Atticus states that "courage is...when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what" (112). It takes a courageous man to face negative pressures of a society. In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, a courageous father and lawyer, Atticus Finch, lives in Maycomb, Alabama during the great depression. Atticus demonstrates courage in multiple ways, some apparent and some subtle.
Atticus first demonstrates courage by defending a black man, Tom Robinson. In Maycomb racism is presides over society. Many residents in Maycomb discriminate against African Americans. Despite this, Atticus Finch portrays his willingness to risk his social standing, professional reputation, and even his physical safety in order to bring justice for a young Negro man falsely accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. Atticus courageously takes on this case telling Scout, "if I didn’t I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again" (75). Atticus means that if he didn’t defend Tom he would ruin his moral reputation and his counties. Also, Atticus teaches his children by setting an example for them and if he did not take on the Robinson case he would not have set a good example for Jem and Scout. Furthermore, Atticus defending Tom displays courage because he must go against his strongly prejudice family and friends. They lose respect for Atticus for defending a black man; accusing him of being a ‘nigger-lover.’ A classmate of Scout tells her, “‘my folks said you’re your daddy was a disgrace’” (76). Still, Atticus holds his head high despite the insults and states that "no matter how bitter things get, they are still friends and this is still home" (76). Showing that Atticus believes even though people may be mean to them now they must remember that they are still friends are still...
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