The Affect of Courage as a Theme in To Kill A Mockingbird
Courage is defined as "that quality of mind or spirit enabling one to meet danger or opposition with fearlessness." 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." (124) No matter how one defines it, Harper Lee clearly portrays the theme of courage in her novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. It is one of the most predominant themes and is shown in many of the characters because what is a hero if they are not courageous? One likes to think of a hero, as strong, brave, meeting all challenges head on. 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. Younger characters, like Jem and Scout, see the physical aspect of it, whereas Atticus believes this to be an extremely weak form of courage. He believes in the mental quality of courage; he admires Mrs Dubose for her attempt to rid herself from some of the evil that still grasped at her life as she died.
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 can be shown in other aspects of life. Scout sees an example of courage in her father when he shoots the mad dog. Although Atticus does not think of it as very courageous, Jem and Scout are proud of their father and the courage he showed in the dangerous situation. Atticus knows that the dog did not stand a chance; it was delirious so therefore could not think straight. In addition, he was holding a gun; the odds were stacked too highly on his side for his liking. He was not trying to prove a point, he was merely fulfilling his civic duty, yet they were still impressed.
Later on in the...