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Courage in "To Kill A Mockingbird"

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Courage in "To Kill A Mockingbird"

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  • August 6, 2006
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"Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what" According to Atticus Finch, an honest lawyer in Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" teaches the children that courage can be portrayed as both physical bravery and strength, but fighting for what is right regardless of whether you win or lose takes more strength in character, and is ultimately more courageous. This is revealed to us by the children's original belief courage being physical, the idea of Ms Dubose's bravery and similarly, Atticus' strong moral courage. Atticus fits into this definition of what courage is and demonstrates it several times throughout the novel. Finally, Scout and Jem show courage of their own by challenging their former attitudes.

Scout and Jem learn from Atticus a very traditional sense of courage and masculinity. One of the first examples of physical courage Atticus sets is when he steps into the street to shoot the rabid dog. Although he was completely uninterested in proving anything to his children, he showed them that you cant back down from a dangerous situation, if there's the chance for other people getting hurt. Another example of physical courage that Atticus demonstrates is when he camps out in front of the jail house where Tom Robinson is being kept. He did this because he knew what would happen to Tom if he didn't try to protect him. Atticus put someone else's life in front of his own showing great courage in the face of danger. Atticus understands that defending Tom is right thing to do so he camps out in front of the jail house to protect him. Through these examples, Atticus unknowingly reaffirms Scout and Jem's traditional, masculine views of courage.

These values are then however challenged by Mrs. Dubose, An old cantankerous lady who dies from a morphine addiction. She and Atticus taught Jem the concept of psychological courage as one of the strongest demonstrations of courage. For over...