The Courage to Free a Mockingbird

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The Courage to Free a Mockingbird There are no songs being sung by the mockingbird the day Atticus Finch shoots and kills the mad dog as his neighbors hide inside their homes in fear. It is by the same token that the silence teaches Atticus’s children their first lesson of courage in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In the eyes of Atticus courage is found in a man’s moral values and not something proven with the use of a gun for he finds no reason to brag of his actions. He shows that it is necessary to use a weapon to have moral courage but that the true weapon is in ones conscience effort to defend ones beliefs. The lesson Atticus teaches that day to his children is courage is not something one has or doesn’t have; it is something one must practice and model. To begin with it is important to Atticus that his children learn what true moral courage is from his point of view and that he models that to them. Atticus learns the value of moral courage through the bravest person he had ever met, his neighbor Mrs. Dubose. She had been addicted to painkillers and morphine and after years of suffering and knowing she was going to die, she values her life enough to leave this world sober with a clear head. Mrs. Dubose practices her moral courage by fighting through the suffering without fear and frees her mind without the use of any weapons, other than her conscience, to ease her pain. Jem and Scout go to read to her everyday but are terrified of seeing her going through withdrawals, unaware at the time that she is modeling courage to them. “It’s when you know your licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see through it no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” (p. 112). Atticus knows the capacity to ... ... middle of paper ... ...lnerabilities and fears can be swept away by just holding their heads up high and fighting for the injustice they see. That believing no matter what they never truly fail if they always give it their best even when the odds are stacked against them. Atticus is heroic in his courage to raise his children by his own core beliefs knowing not everyone agrees with them. He teaches them that anyone can have courage even if they are an outcast. For as the mockingbird mimics other birds, insects and amphibians to create a beautiful endless symphony, Atticus mimics the courage of Mrs. Dubose, Tom and Boo to create a moral symphony that is being sung to his children and passed along. That just as the diversity in the notes of a mockingbird song so are the people who will model them courage. Atticus teaches them that his moral courage is as beautiful and free as a mockingbird.
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