Webster's dictionary defines courage as "mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty." According to Atticus Finch, one of the main characters in To Kill A Mockingbird, "Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." (Chapter 11, Page 124) No matter how you define it, Harper Lee definitely portrays the theme of courage in this book. It is one of the most predominant themes and is shown in many of the characters. All of the characters have a different view as to what courage is and they all show it a different way, however they do show courage in their everyday lives.
For a younger character, like Scout, courage is most often associated with a physical act that is usually dangerous. It is hard for young children like that to realize that greater courage is shown in other aspects of life. Scout sees an example of courage in her father when he shoots the mad dog. Although Atticus did not think of it as very courageous, Jem and Scout were proud of their father and the courage he showed in the situation. He was not trying to prove anything, yet they were still impressed. Later on in the story, Jem and Scout encounter the vindictive Mrs. Dubose. "Your father's no better than the niggers and trash he works for!" (Chapter 11, Page 113) When she bad- mouthed Atticus like that, Jem decided that the best way to settle things was to ruin Mrs. Dubose's camellias. After Atticus heard about this stunt, Jem was made to read to her every afternoon for a month. Mrs. Dubose was a very sick lady, and had morphine to ease her pain. It was not until after she died that Atticus explained to Jem and Scout how courageous the lady was because she knew she was dying but was still determined to die free of the morphine. She fought against great odds, even though she knew that she would surely die. Between these two examples Atticus set, and the many more he showed in...
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