Courage In To Kill A Mockingbird

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This story takes place in a town called Maycombe in the United States, in the 1930’s. This town is suffering from the Great Depression at the time post World War II.

In Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, she writes from the point of view of Scout and Jem. This gives us a particularly child-like view of the events in the book, through what they say and do in response to these events, also of their experience of their own lives and people within it. A strong contrast between events that occur in the book, from their Dad as a lawyer defending a black man accused of raping a white woman to his children who are trying to make sense of the world around them, courage can mean different things for these different people in the novel.

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An example of a time when Atticus Finch the father of Scout and Jem courage in the story is when he defends the black male negro accused of raping Mayella Ewells. Despite the fact that he was disadvantaged in the white community because of his African inheritance and his black skin, had it have not been for Atticus, a white man speaking in his defense, he would’ve had no chance of being heard in court. He was defending a Negro, this was viewed with disgust and disrespect in those times in that place. Atticus spoke for him regardless of whether he may have been right or wrong anyway aside from his race.

From the point of view of the children Scout, Jem and Dill, an example of courage is when the letter to Arthur was passed through the window of the Radley’s house, something no other child nor any other resident of Maycombe had the bravery to do. They had attempted something that no one else who knew better would even think about doing, regardless of the circumstance or possible results such as someone daubing them in on their behavior or being caught by Boo (Arthur Radley). They were willing to risk something greater for what they were trying to achieve, as most of Maycombe can’t overlook their unquestionable fear of Boo. The aspect that made this courageous and mainly brave, is that Arthur couldn’t read, so this means they may have had a decreased chance of successfully communicating with Arthur. So they could well have been taking a considerable risk without a benefit or adequate purpose, “if Boo Radley ever received it he wouldn’t be able to read it.”(Page 53).

The second example of courage among the children was when his household was in a panic because of the fire in Miss Maudie’s house nearby, every one was expecting the worst, especially the youngest child Scout. Jem tried his best to comfort her, “Jem put his arm around me. “Hush, Scout,” he said. “It ain’t time to worry yet. I’ll let you know when.”” (Page 77). He too could’ve shown panic and extreme apprehension, but instead, he kept a good, courageous and wise mind on his shoulders during that frightening circumstance in the sense that he showed little emotion. The most overwhelming concern at the time was their safety and the safety of others that they knew as well as Miss Maudie, “Only thing I was worried about last night was all the danger and commotion it caused. This whole neighborhood could’ve gone up.” (Page 81).

Another way courage is displayed in the story is Atticus Finch’s and Mr. Nathan’s brave actions at the fiery diminish of Miss Maudie’s property. They had come close to the fire scorching its way through Miss Maudie’s property in order to retrieve items of value for her when they had just as much at stake themselves, but nevertheless risked losing their life and giving up assets as well, therefore. “I saw Atticus carrying Miss Maudie’s heavy oak rocking chair,” (Page 77). Such assets included their family, service, and other things of immortal value to most. “‘Mr Nathan was at the fire’ he babbled. ‘I saw him tuggin’ that mattress.’”(Page 79). In order to retrieve this furniture, as they were voluntary townspeople assisting to retrieve this furniture, as everyone else, had no clue of when the roof was going to collapse and therefore perhaps, to what extent the building was structurally unsound; this could be the difference between living on and dying.

This essay outlined the difference in the meaning of courage between an adult and a child or young individual. As an adult, with wisdom and experience comes the potential to build more confidence – this seems to make adults more prepared to place more at stake from time to time. Confidence and wisdom is a very firm and insuring tool to have as life goes on. And perhaps you could then view it in this way, when you look back on ‘I dare you’ among children, the dares and perhaps even the term ‘dare’ in some ways may seem obsolete in the face of life’s challenges as a grown-up, that is because you become increasingly faced with them out of your control, meaning it is mostly no longer an option, a reputation and a need for confidence, sense and wisdom arises. You grow up and step outside of your true comfort zone more frequently and perhaps for greater benefits through what you achieve.


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