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…show more content…
A significant representation of courage is seen within Atticus. Within To Kill A Mockingbird Atticus speaks of the Tom Robinson trial as a trial all lawyers fear. He must face a court case that will have a profound personal effect upon himself and his family. Atticus summons the courage to recognize that there is a need for justice and that it is his duty to achieve this. Maycomb is a town tainted with stereotypes and racism. Atticus has the courage to overcome the fear of other peoples' dislike. He must face the fear of straining the lives of his two young children and family name. The courage Atticus embodies stems from his "satisfactory" character. Atticus is righteous and unable to turn his back on those who truly rely upon his ability to show empathy. He overcomes the heartless comments of those around them, to see the necessity of his involvement.
Courage within Atticus is not restrained to his professional life, but also evident in his family life. It is hard for Atticus to raise his children without a wife, and to face the constant family ridicule. At one point the reader is convinced Atticus has lost his courage, and has succumbed to the clutched of Aunt Alexandra, her opinions. However, as the scene progresses the reader is further exposed to the courage of Atticus and his decision to
The dictionary definition of courage as per the Oxford English Dictionary is ‘the ability to do something that frightens one’, but is it really that simple? Courage is often portrayed as physical bravery in books and movies which see the hero making a sacrifice for the greater good. However, courage can be more than a physical act. Think of social activists and those speaking out against injustice. They too are displaying courage, albeit a different type of courage. We can also consider entrepreneurs like Walt Disney or Steve Jobs as being courageous people given the financial risks that they took in order to pursue a dream. There are different types of courage ranging from physical strength and endurance to mental stamina, innovation and emotional bravery. Let’s take a look at the various different attributes of courage.
One of the most common displays of courage is when someone chooses to act despite the fact that they feel fear regarding the task or feat in front of them. This is probably what most people think of when they think of courage. Some examples of this type of courage would be firefighters running into a burning building or someone trying skydiving for the first time! Courage in this sense is not about being fearless, but rather it is about triumphing despite being afraid. The same can said of courage in situations where the individual perseveres even in the face of great adversity. Haven’t we all commented on how courageous a Paralympic athlete is for working to overcome their disability and excel in a sport? This is a slightly different take on the idea of physical courage or bravery in that it is not so much that the person is scared, but that they are facing a challenge which a less courageous person might see as insurmountable. Another variation on this is courage which takes the form of facing suffering with dignity and grace. How we react in terrible situations can speak volumes about out character and those who are able to face humiliation, suffering or degradation and still keep their composure could also be deemed to have great courage. A great illustration of this comes from popular culture. In the television show Outlander, there is an important scene where the hero, Jamie Fraser, is given 200 lashes leaving his back permanently disfigured. However, throughout the ordeal he refuses to cry out even although he must be in terrible pain. He bore his suffering with dignity and poise and was therefore behaving in a courageous manner.
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However, courage is not always about these more physical aspects of bravery. Courage can also come from a more emotional place. There are a number of examples of how a person could exhibit this type of courage including following their dreams despite the risks that doing so involves financially or emotionally. This is the type of courage that can be attributed to pioneering entrepreneurs like Walt Disney and Steve Jobs. Similarly, courage can be show when someone stands up for what they believe is right. This includes speaking out against injustice and some of the well known people to have shown this type of courage would include the likes of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. It takes courage to speak your mind, especially if your opinion is in the minority. Finally, we could also say that courage comes from being brave enough to step out of your comfort zone and explore new horizons. Without the courage of explorers and adventures there would be a great many things that we would not have discovered about the world in which we live. Take Christopher Columbus who was among the first explores to challenge the concept that the world was flat. Where would we be now if he had been to afraid to sail towards the horizon just in case he was wrong? It took great courage for him to leave his familiar world and set of in search of new places that he couldn’t even be sure really existed.
In conclusion, while courage is usually defined as acting despite fear it is actually a much more complex attribute. Depending on the situation that an individual is actually in, they will have the opportunity to demonstrate courage in a number of different ways whether that means taking a stand and speaking out against injustice or physically overcoming something that triggers a fearful response.