To Kill a Mockingbird Themes

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Kristen Washburn
Ms. McMillion
Honors English 10 3rd hr
23 February 2005
"The Coward Sneaks to Death, the Brave Live on"
The title quote, spoken by George Sewell (Famous 5), properly abridges the theme of bravery in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. While the coward of the novel dies in the end, the brave ones who oppose him end up alive. Even though it seems at times that those characters which represent the theme in its most honorable form are losing, this is not the case. They face more hardships, but nobility prevails in the end when it comes to life and death. Bravery is an important theme all throughout To Kill a Mockingbird, and it is thoroughly represented by not only Atticus Finch but also his children Jem and Scout.

Atticus is a well-respected, intelligent man often forced into facing difficult situations. He faces them with a bravery only few possess, even when he realizes all odds are stacked against him. "Every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one's mine, I guess" (Lee 76), Atticus explains to his daughter about the impossible case he has taken. "…If I didn't [defend Tom] I couldn't hold my head up in town…I couldn't even tell you and Jem not to do something again" (Lee 75). He is well aware of the guff and hatred he will receive by taking the case, but he puts it all on the line and does it because he knows it is right. As Aristotle once said, almost as if he knew he were describing Atticus, "It was the mark of a brave man to face things that are, and seem, terrible for a man, because it is noble to do so and disgraceful not to do so" (Bravery 1).

Not only does Atticus have to brave the bitter adult word, but he also shows his bravery in raising two children as a single father. He is often criticized for the way he parents, but until he allows Aunt Alexandra to come along, he does not let outsiders interfere. His children love him for the way he fathers, though, and the family is very...
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