Courage Over Conformity
In a world of lions, and tigers, and bears, courage is a light through the forest of life. Only few know the true meaning of courage and its worth. In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, great courage is shown in many forms, through characters that are trying to do what right in the face of adversity.
Atticus is one of few that sees clearly through the fog hovering over Maycomb County. Ignoring the crude and unsupportive comments thrown at him from Maycomb citizens, Atticus takes Tom's case and explains that if he didn't he would not be able to hold his head up in town. Surrounded by a mob of conformity and intolerance, one sees that Atticus' ability to pursue the right course is unwavering. It seems as though in a town of foggy-minded citizens, Atticus is the lone voice of reason. Like Atticus, Miss Maudie also sees through the fog, and during a ladies luncheon silences Mrs. Merriweather's remarks on Atticus' "misguided" decision to defend Tom Robinson. It is apparent that Miss Maudie shares many of the same opinions and values as Atticus. One might compare her to the female equivalent of Atticus, again the lone voice of reason. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to one's enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to one's friends, both Atticus and Miss Maudie have the strength of character to do just this.
Courage comes in many different shapes, while having the courage to fight for what's right is one, having the courage to fight temptation is another. Knowing she was "licked" before she began, Mrs. Dubose resists her yearnings for morphine and dies "beholden to nothing and nobody" (p. 112), winning the epic battle of will power over temptation. Although, the author paints a very ugly portrait of Mrs. Dubose, one sees a silver lining in her strength and self-motivation. It seems that Mrs. Dubose's lesson of bravery was remembered over her cruel and hideous remarks. Similar to Mrs. Dubose's fight with temptation, Scout...
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