The Aspects of Courage in to Kill a Mockingbird

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Courage is a virtue all great heroes need. However, real courage takes more than mere bravado or overcoming of fear; there are several meanings of the word. In the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the idea of courage can be seen in many forms and are illustrated through different characters. The book is set in the early 1900s, a time of racial segregation and the Great Depression in a small Alabama town called Maycomb. The main characters, Scout, Jem, and their father Atticus, experience many life lessons, make new friends and enemies, and gradually mature in the course of the story. Three of the main aspects of courage seen in To Kill a Mockingbird are fighting until the end, overcoming difficulties, and sacrificing for others. These types of courage are displayed through several characters including Mrs. Dubose, Atticus and Ms. Maudie. One of the first forms of courage introduced in To Kill a Mockingbird is the will to fight, even if defeat is inevitable. Mrs. Dubose is a cranky old woman with wrinkles and liver spots who Jem and Scout are forced to read to by Atticus. She has a nasty attitude towards the children, and constantly criticizes Atticus' parenting style and kindness toward the Black people. After Mrs. Dubose's death, it is revealed that she was a morphine addict, and Jem's reading to her helped her with overcoming her addiction. She decided she didn't want to die with her addiction, so she attempted to break free, even though she knew it would kill her. Atticus explains it as such: "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know that you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what" (Lee, 112). Atticus himself exemplifies this idea of courage by taking the case of Tom Robinson, a Black man, who is falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell. Because of the racial segregation in the early 1900s, Atticus knows that it is...
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