How Does Harper Lee Present the Theme of Courage in to Kill a Mockingbird

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, African American, Harper Lee Pages: 3 (1048 words) Published: April 15, 2013
How Does Harper Lee Present The Theme Of Courage In To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper lee presents the theme of courage through several of the characters within TKAM, such as Scout, Atticus, Calpurnia, and Mrs Dubose. Within the book courage is shown in different ways such as Scout’s innocence and naivety or Atticus’ reluctance to carry out an action but still having to carry it out. One character to show courage is Atticus who shows courage twice as he shoots Tim Johnson and stands up to the lynch mob to defend Tom Robinson. The Tim Johnson incidence occurs when a dog (Tim Johnson) has rabies and is acting like a ‘mad dog’ and ‘walking dazedly’ so Atticus, although reluctant, has to shoot him. This shows courage as we learn from Miss Maudie that Atticus ‘wouldn’t shoot till he had to’. From this we learn that Atticus would only shoot as a last resort, which he had to when he shot Tim Johnson. The event shows Atticus’ courage as shooting an innocent animal takes bravery and the fact that he was forced to in order to prevent the dog from harming others shows that it was brave of him to shoot Tim Johnson. The effect of this on the reader is that they see a different side to Atticus as we already know that he is moral but before this event we learn along with Jem and Scout that Atticus is the ‘deadest shot in Maycomb’ and find out that he is brave. This means when we see the courageous side of Atticus for the first time it is more profound as we do not expect this of him. Another character we see as being courageous is Mrs Dubose. She was prescribed morphine for many years but became addicted to it and even on her death bed when it would have been easier to continue to take the morphine she progressively tries to kick her addiction. She tried to rid herself of her addiction as she chooses to ‘die beholden to nothing and no one’. This quote shows her courage as it shows how strong he will is in order to live. Harper Lee shows us ‘what real courage instead of getting...
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