Courage Is an Important Theme in to Kill a Mockingbird

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Courage, Harper Lee Pages: 7 (2765 words) Published: December 31, 2010
Courage is an important theme in to kill a mockingbird

In To Kill Mockingbird courage is presented to us as a desirable quality. Harper Lee suggests that there is some misunderstanding as to what real courage in the community of Maycomb actually is. Many aspects of courage are shown in To Kill a Mockingbird. There are examples of physical courage, such as Atticus facing the rabid dog. There is also moral courage, an example of this would be when Atticus takes on Tom Robinson’s case and he sticks to his principles, even though he knows that he can’t win. Scout shows this kind of courage when she doesn’t fight back when people criticise Atticus. Atticus sees Mrs Dubose as a strong example of someone with courage and he calls her the bravest person he knows. She has the goal of dying free from her drug addiction and she achieves it with great effort. Atticus teaches his children that the action of Mrs Dubose is true courage and it is not “a man with a gun in his hand.” In one way or another every character shows at least one aspect of courage, however two of the most courageous seem to be Atticus and Mrs. Dubose.

One of the main characters in the novel is Atticus Finch. The name Atticus has a Greek origin and means ethical (moral, upright, honest, righteous and honourable), which suits him perfectly. Atticus Finch is a man of strong ethics, and a big contrast to the uncaring society. He tries to teach his children (Jem and Scout), to use their own heads instead of going with the popular opinion. He also never takes a side in an argument.

Atticus Finch is looked up to by his family and his friends who "trust him to do right". He sets a level of morality that no other character in the book comes close to matching. Everything he does and says is governed by reason. Once Atticus decides that a path of action is right, he perseveres and grasps the goal regardless of threats or criticisms. But Atticus does not look go looking for this. In fact another quality of this man is the he tries his best to avoid conflict. The Tom Robinson case was not one he volunteered to handle- the judge assigned him the case because he felt Atticus would do his best to win. Atticus has the courage to stand up for what is right and makes decisions on what will do the most good rather than what others believe is right. This courage to stand by his beliefs is demonstrated numerously in the novel. For one Atticus is determined to bring his children up to be respectful, honourable people. He does his best to set a good example to them through the decisions he makes and the things he says. Atticus sets a good example for the children when Mr. Ewell confronts him; even though he is provoked and insulted, Atticus simply has a “peaceful reaction”. This shows the children never to get into fights with people when they are upset about something. This is usual. However along with traditional methods he also employs his own techniques and rules of parenting, many quite debatable. Atticus’s courage to stand by his beliefs means he treats his children very much like adults. Atticus treats everyone with fairness. He always hears both sides of the story. He does this after Scout got into a fight with Francis Hancock. Scout also tells Uncle Jack that when she and Jem get into fights Atticus stops to hear both sides of the argument before placing the blame. When he is confronted by awkward issues Atticus never tries to hide or cover up the truth. He tells Uncle Jack at Finches landing that “when a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake.” After Atticus is confronted by the mob outside the county jail, he doesn’t try to pretend that they weren’t there to hurt him. He admits that “Mr. Cunningham might have hurt me a little.” When Scout asks Atticus if they are poor, the usual response would be to say no so Scout would not be scared. But, Atticus believes honesty should always be the way, so he says, “we are indeed.” Atticus considers lying horribly...
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