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Courage Essay

By darthelcha Jun 07, 2012 552 Words
Courage. What comes to mind when you hear this word? Respect, bravery, admiration, fear or may be…nothing. Courage can often be hard to define and even harder to demonstrate. Some people would say that courage is someone with a strong heart. While others would say that courage is telling the truth instead of denying it. In the dictionary, courage is defined as mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and to withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, displays true courage as standing up for what one believes in even if it means risking something important. For one to demonstrate courage, they must have physical and mental strength and determination. But most important, they must have self-confidence. In my eyes, to be courageous, one must be willing to accept a task, no matter what it may be; someone who cares more about standing up for what’s right rather than what they must go through to get to there. (“Courage,” Merriam-Webster)

True courage is when you fight for what’s right regardless of whether you win or lose. In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch defined courage as “It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.” (Lee, 124) This type of courage is displayed throughout the novel, mainly shown in the long period of time during Tom Robinson’s case. It all started when Atticus took the case. He went against Maycomb, a town of prejudice and racism, in order to defend this man. Atticus understood that his reputation would suffer and that the townsfolk would ridicule him and even threaten him. When his own sister, Aunt Alexandra, expresses her disapproval against his decision, telling him that he was bringing disgrace to the family, Atticus refuses to change his mind. He believed in justice and equality throughout all people and standing up for his believes and ethnics were more important than what people thought of him. Atticus knew that he would not win the case, but his strong sense of justice and equality gave him the determination to defend Tom Robinson to the best of his abilities. He wanted the people of Maycomb to hear the truth about Tom and although he lost the trial, he had succeeded in showing his client’s innocence. Atticus later shows this courage once more, when he stayed at the jailhouse to protect Tom from a mob. Atticus knew that he would be greatly outnumbered if a mob did form, but he went willingly; putting Tom’s well-being before his own.

There are many types of courage, some of which are hard to define. For me, courage can easily be defined. It’s the ability that allows us to face our fears and to conquer our darkest fears. It’s the ability to face the future without knowing what is certain. It’s the ability to stand tall and confront those who oppose us, those who prevent us from realizing who we are and what we are. But most important, it’s the ability to stand up for what’s right, even though there are risks that stand in your way. Sara Anderson once said that "It takes great courage to faithfully follow what we know to be true."

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