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Courage (To Kill A Mockingbird)

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The dictionary definition for courage is-

Courage is the quality of mind that enables one to face danger or difficulty with confidence, resolution, and gain a firm control of oneself. Many of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird show courage in their own way. Courage can come in many different forms: physical, mental, emotional and moral.

Atticus shows courage throughout the novel while he stands up for what he believes is right even though he knows the majority of people disagree with his views. Atticus sees differently because he went to university and he got an education where he learnt about values and equality whereas the people of Maycomb who do not have the same education are basing their decision on what their family taught them and being from the south they have been taught to discriminate against which is why they treat Tom Robinson so unfairly. Atticus is also forced to shoot the mad dog (106-107) which is against his moral standards but he knew he had to kill it, not only to protect the people of Maycomb, he also had to put the dog out of its misery which took a lot of his strength and courage.

Mrs Dubose shows courage and determination when she recognises that she has a flaw and that she has to fix it. She is addicted to Morphine and makes a goal to die free of her weakness. She goes through a time of withdrawal that is difficult to survive. She finishes her goal before she dies. She enlists Jem to read to her every Saturday as a way of distracting herself. It still takes a great amount of self-confidence to be able to recognise that one has a flaw and even more to do something about it.

Scout shows a large amount of courage in the scene where Atticus goes down to the jailhouse in an attempt to try and protect Tom Robinson. After he arrives at the jail, a group of men appear in the jail with the intention of killing Robinson. Atticus is prepared to defend him, but he is thrown off guard when his children enter the situation. This makes Atticus nervous that his children are in danger. That was when Scout stepped up to the men and talked them down from attacking Tom and Atticus.

Another example of courage is when Scout rolls the tire into the Radley yard. She is terrified when she realises where she is and her immediate reaction is to run straight back to the street. When she gets back Jem tells her to go back and get the tyre but Jem ends up doing it anyway. When Jem returns he accuses Scout of being a sissy girl. What he doesn't know because Scout decided not to tell him is that Scout heard laughter from inside the house. That is why she ran out so fast, forgetting the tyre. But she chose not to explain this to them.

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