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To Kill a Mockingbird: Courage

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Reganne Miller

on 21 February 2016

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Transcript of To Kill a Mockingbird: Courage

Dictionary Definition:
the ability to do something that you know is difficult or risky

My Definition:
having the strength to do something challenging or dangerous
To Kill a Mockingbird: Courage
Wolves are very courageous animals. They generally prey on animals much larger than they are, such as a moose. A moose can weigh ten times as much as a single wolf and kill it with one kick. This means that everytime a wolf hunts, it is risking its life, but by working with other wolves, they are able to bring down their prey.
Symbol for Courage

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

I think that Atticus would believe that he is courageous based on this definition because he knew going into the Tom Robinson trial that he would lose. He continued with the trial anyway because he thought it was the right thing to do.

Atticus's Definition of Courage
Characters from "To Kill a Mockingbird"
I think that Jem Finch is couragous. An example from the book in which he acts courageously is when he ruins Mrs. Dubose's flowers because she disrespected his father and sister.

"Jem snatched my baton and ran flailing wildly up the steps into Mrs.Dubose's front yard, forgetting everything Atticus had said... He did not begin to calm down until he had cut the tops off of every camillia bush Mrs.Dubose owned."
pg. 102-103
Jem Finch
"The rifle cracked. Tim Johnson leaped, flopped over and crumpled on the sidewalk in a brown-and-white heap. He didn't know what hit him."
pg. 96

This shows Atticus's courage because although he did not want to hurt the dog, he shot him, something he hadn't done in years, to protect the people of his neighborhood.
Atticus shoots Tim Johnson
Atticus Finch
I consider Atticus and Jem Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird" couragous.
This shows Jem's courage because he knew that he was ignoring Atticus's orders to not fight for him. Although he knew he would get in trouble for what he was about to do, he still destroyed her flowers to stand up for his family.
Atticus Finch is one of the most courageous characters in
To Kill a Mockingbird.
He shows this various times throughout the book including when he shoots the mad dog, Tim Johnson, and by defending Tom Robinson in court.
Atticus defends Tom
"If you shouldn't be defendin' him, then why are you doin' it?"
"The main one is, if I didn't, I couldn't hold up my head in town, I couldn't represent this county in the legislature, I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do something again."
pg. 75

Atticus knew that defending Tom Robinson, a black man, would cause a lot of people to look down on him, but he did it anyway because he knew it was the right thing to do. This shows he is courageous because he went against what everyone else thought to do what he believed was right.
"As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash."

This further shows that Atticus was couragous based on his own definition. He knew that most people disliked African Americans and that they would be against him for defending a black man in court. He continued to do it anyways.
Atticus's Courage
Jem's Definition of Courage
Although Jem never directly states his definition of courage throughout the book, it can be concluded that his is different than Atticus's due to his actions and age. It can also be inferred that traces of his father's idea of courage are in his due to the fact that he looked up to his father.
One example of Jem's courage is shown when he follows through on Dill's dare and touches the Radley's house.

"Jem threw open the gate and sped to the side of the house, slapped it with his palm and ran back past us, not waiting to see if his foray was successful."

This act would not be courageous based on Atticus's definition of courage because although it was dangerous, it was not the right thing to do. This also shows that Jem's ideas of courage is more juvenile than Atticus's because he's much younger.
Another example that show's Jem's ideas on courage is when he refuses to leave Atticus outside of the jail when he has been confronted by a mob.

"Go home, Jem.".."Jem shook his head. As Atticus's fists went to his hips, so did Jem's...'Son I said go home,' Jem shook his head."
pg. 152

This shows that Jem's idea of courage may be similar to his father's in some ways due the fact that even though Atticus told him to go home, he didn't because he didn't believe it was right to leave his father in danger.
Jem's Courage

Jem's Courage
Theme: Courage
The story's theme of courage is mainly shown through Atticus. He shows it by defending a black man, Tom Robinson, in court when almost everybody in his town is against African Americans. He ignores their comments and continues to do what is right.

Jem and Scout also show this theme by standing up to the people who disrespect their father for what he is doing.

Specifically, Scout shows courage throughout the book by not confining herself the the expectations set for women at the time.
Jem may consider himself courageous by his definition of himself considering "in all his life, he'd never turned down a dare." He may not think he is courageous in other peoples' eyes because his actions do not follow along with Atticus's definition
Jem's Courage
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