To Kill a Mockingbird Personal Courage Essay

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Truman Capote Pages: 3 (1234 words) Published: May 28, 2012
How has the novel affected your ideas of PERSONAL COURAGE in the face of INJUSTICE/ prejudice? Refer to elements of the PLOT and specific CHARACTERS to support your position/ comments. As a member of the 21st century, personal courage is defined as the stereotyped image of strength and braveness. Popularized by the popular Nike slogan, “Just Do It”, the society of present believes courage to be able to doing what is necessary without limitations. This meaning however, is juxtaposed by representations of courage in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Through the ‘Bildungsroman’ structure of the novel, the audience is able to relate to Scout as she grows and learns about personal courage in the face of injustice and prejudice. Atticus’ description of courage as “not a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what,” [Chapter 11, Page 109] clearly shows his perception of society, serving as his inspiration for defending Tom Robinson against all odds. Miss Maudie, although only a lady, exercises her views in her tea parties and local gatherings and is not afraid to stand up for justice. Lastly, Arthur Radley shows his own courage through the way he fights his fear of society by saving Jem and Scout. The above characters present a view of personal courage as doing what you believe to be right even when you know you are not necessarily going to succeed. This is explored through the social injustice of the 1930s in Maycomb, where blacks are considered to be lowly. Firstly, it is clear that Atticus displays courage for his support of Tom Robinson even when the rest of the prejudiced society is against him. He believes personal courage to be deeper than just a “man with a gun in his hand,” [Chapter 11, Page 109] as seen through his hesitation to shoot the mad dog even though he was nicknamed “one shot Finch” [Ch 10, Pg 104] during his youth. Instead, he displays moral...
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