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To Kill a Mockingbird and Bravery

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Aspects of courage are revealed in several chapters. First, we should identify what sort of courage. Jem, Scout and Dill all show signs of fearlessness in the first few chapters. For instance when Jem takes on dills dare to touch the Radley house, although they believed a ‘malevolent phantom’ lived there. On the night, that Jem loses his pants in the Radley fence he finds the courage to return later. Scout shows courage when she stands up to her teacher to defend her classmate, Walter Cunningham, when the new teacher asking about his lunch embarrasses him.

Here we have a determination to overcome fear, even at the level of childish activities. But in Scouts case, however, it is her determination to prevent a classmate from becoming the victim of a teacher’s ignorance of local families. Scouts courage is also shown when she confronts the gang of men who are outside the jail and who are intent on dragging Tom Robinson from his cell and lynching him. Scout defuses the situation by making the men think as individuals not as a mob.

Next there is a case of more obvious courage. In chapter 10 the whole chapter is focused on guns with the instruction not to shoot a mocking bird, so Jem’s shoot at cans in the back yard. So when Calpurnia raises the alarm about the mad dog, Atticus arrives with Sheriff Tate who is carrying a heavy rifle.

In order to set up the incidents in which the elements of guns and courage are connected the writer emphasizes the fear this dog arouses in the community. Rabies usually strike in August not in February. The street is eerily silent, and even the mockingbirds are quiet.

Thirdly there is Mrs. Dubose. Chapter 11 is devoted to the encounter between the kids and this unpleasant old lady. She likes insulting Jem and Scout everytime they pass her house, she comments on their attitude towards their father, their clothes, their manners and finally their father. It’s the final insult, which drive s Jem to damage her bushes.

It takes courage and determination for Jem to accept the punishment of reading to Mrs. Dubose every afternoon. But the main point of the incident is what the children learn. But to find out what the children learn we have to consider Atticus’s words. “I wanted you to see something about her, I wanted you to see real courage”.

Fourthly, courage of a different kind derives from Atticus’s statement “it is when you’re licked before, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what” Atticus takes on the task of defending Tom Robinson, and he appears to be “licked” before the trial begins. In the southern states at that time, a Negro accused was a guilty Negro. While talking with his sister Atticus admits, “the jury couldn’t possibly be expected to take Tom Robinson word against the Ewells.”

The courage he shows in accepting the task is based on his belief that he could not face his children nor honorably represent the town in the county legislature if he didn’t do everything in his power to help Tom.

Atticus’s determination to do the right thing is reinforced when he waits outside the jail in chapter 15. He does this because he wants to protect Tom from the mob that wants to lynch him. Despite Atticus only being armed with moral strength, yet his quiet manner forces the mob to speak in whispers, providing a “Sickening comic aspect to an unfunny situation”.

Finally courage is shown by Boo in the last four chapters. He attacks Bob Ewell when Bob is attacking the children. This is a big risk for Boo as he risks being a hero. This wouldn’t suit Boo because le leads a very quite secluded life.

But courage isn’t only about physical strength though; courage is revealed in a person’s inner strength. There are many examples of this in the novel. For instance when chuck little stands up to Burris in class. When Miss Maudie is optimistic when her house was burnt down. When Mr. Link Deas speaks out for the Robinson’s at the trial.

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