To Kill A Mockingbird Essay-Emotional/Moral Courage
Webster's dictionary defines courage as "mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty." According to Atticus Finch, one of the main characters in To Kill A Mockingbird, "Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." (Chapter 11, Page 124) No matter how you define it, Harper Lee definitely portrays the theme of mental courage in this book. The book demonstrates that mental courage is fighting what you believe in no matter the consequence. It is one of the most predominant themes and is shown in many of the characters, including Atticus, Jem and Scout, who all show mental courage in their everyday lives.
First of all, Atticus demonstrates mental courage when he undertakes the task of defending Tom Robinson, a black man wrongly accused of rape. Atticus knows he won't win the case and like Mrs. Dubose in her battle against morphine, he is "licked" before he begins. Nevertheless, Atticus knows that Tom is innocent and that he must fight for him, since no one else will. Atticus's strong sense of morality and justice motivates him to defend Tom with vigor and determination, giving it all he's got with one mission in mind. He wants the people of Maycomb town, whether they believe it or not, to hear the truth about Tom, "That boy might go to the chair, but he's not going till the truth's told." (Chapter 15, Page 146) Furthermore, Atticus showed true mental courage when he went against Maycomb, a generally prejudice town, in order to defend Tom. He understood that taking the case would make him an object of scorn and ridicule. That no one would forgive him for believing in a black man's word rather than a white man's. Even his own sister expresses disapproval of his decision, practically telling him he was bringing disgrace on the family. But, no matter how much his reputation suffered, he did not...
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