To Kill A Mockingbird Essays: Great Courage

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Courage in To Kill A Mockingbird


Courage is shown within the characters of To Kill A Mockingbird in several situations.  The characters are challenged to face danger or pain without fear.  The courage they display gives them strength and deepens their self-understanding as the novel progresses.


  Early in the novel, Scout illustrates the courage she embodies.  On her first day of school, Scout acts as an ambassador for the entire class.  She takes the duty of informing Miss Caroline of Walter Cunningham's situation.  Miss Caroline had just scolded Scout for her ability to read, however, Scout still feels the classes' need for leadership.  Most children at her age would fear speaking to the teacher is such a bold fashion.  Scout shows advanced maturity for her age, and this allows her to successfully act upon her courage, rather than suppressing its existence.  Walter Cunningham, himself, was shy and fearful of speaking to the teacher.  Scout over came the petty fears that plagued the remainder of the class, and acted out of Walter's best interest.  Her courage spoke in Walter's absence, and inability to express his monetary situation.


Jem is faced with a courageous situation in regards to the Radley house.  His courage stems from fear of receiving a whipping from Atticus, and more important, his disapproval.  Jem is willing to risk his life in order to save his father from showing disappointment.  The threat of Mr. Radley waiting for the intruder with his gun instils fear within Jem.  However, Jem overcomes this fear in order to sustain Atticus' faith.  Being the only and eldest son places pressure upon Jem to set an e...

... middle of paper ... you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.  You rarely win, but sometimes you do." (112).  Within all the examples of courage there is not a situation when the courage did not stem from a need within the character.  Courage is the inner desire to succeed and to do what is righteous, no matter what humiliation or consequences that plague you because of your decision.  Scout, Jem, Atticus, Calpurnia and Mrs. Dubose understood the risks they faced but continued with their actions because it was moral.  They did not all enter their personal situation expecting to win.  Scout still faced further scolding from Miss Caroline.  Jem eventually told his father what he had done to the Radley's.  There were winners and losers but they do not regret the courage they showed for the sake of good intentions. 

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