Atticus - Courage

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Topics: Courage, Virtue
“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 you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.” The quote by Atticus expresses Atticus’ thoughts about courage. While Atticus believes that all types of courage; physical, intellectual, and moral; are important, he believes that moral courage is the most important of all. Atticus tries to show Jem this, and Jem sees that Mrs. Dubose was exceptionally courageous. Atticus doesn’t stand idly by his words, he adheres to what he says and acts upon his words. The novel attempts to enlighten the reader that courage can be possessed by anyone and the importance of courage, by showing Atticus’ own courage. While unassuming, Atticus certainly possessed physical courage. When Tom was in jail, awaiting trial, Atticus sat outside. Atticus sat reading all night long, waiting for a mob of people to turn up. When the mob of people turned up, Atticus faced down the angry mob. Atticus was certainly willing to put life and limb on the line to prevent Tom from being lynched. Although Atticus certainly valued physical courage, moral courage is arguably the most important type of bravery, and this Atticus had in spades. Moral courage involves the strength to stick with your convictions and do the right thing, even when the whole world criticizes and torments you for it. Atticus’s decision to represent Tom Robinson brought a slew of insults and threats to him and his family. But he was willing to bear the onslaught with his head held high. Atticus used the example of Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose to teach Jem the power of this kind of moral courage. Mrs. Dubose was a sick, contentious old woman who would berate Jem and

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