Analysis of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is a story of national magnitude that contains complex characters. Harper Lee deals with the emotions and spirits of the characters insightfully. A few of these characters display courage at one point or another in the story. These flashes of courage come during turbulent times of the story, and often led to success.
Atticus Finch displayed courage on numerous occasions. Without his wife he had to raise Jem and Scout alone for most of their lives. Because he knew he had to set an example for his children to follow, Atticus tried never to let his emotions get the best of him. He stated on several occasions that he would not be able to tell his children one thing and do another. He believed in teaching by example, and his methods worked. Scout views her father as the bravest person she ever knew when he was cordial to Mrs. Dubose, despite her gibes. In front of the jail, Atticus was reading to Tom Robinson, a Negro he was defending in a rape case. The black versus white mentality was like a wildfire through almost all of Maycomb’s white residents during this case. As he was reading Atticus was approached by a group of men wanting to get at Tom. “’He in there, Mr. Finch?’
‘He is and he’s asleep. Don’t wake him up.’
‘You know what we want. Get aside from the door, Mr. Finch’
‘You can turn around and go home again, Walter.’”(151) Atticus stood strong against an entire mob due to his strong values. He would not budge, even though he was outnumbered. His voice was cool and collected throughout the entire encounter, proving once more his courage. Atticus was also courageous when he aimed to defend Tom Robinson instead of just allowing the guilty verdict. “’Lemme tell you somethin’ now, Billy, you know the court appointed him to defend this nigger.’
‘Yeah but Atticus aims to defend him. That’s what I don’t like about it.’”(163) In those times many lawyers did not attempt to defend black men against white men. They were biased against their own clients. But Atticus, however, would not do such a thing. He stuck to his beliefs and continued the trial even though he knew that he could never win with a biased jury. To use his own words for him, Atticus was licked before he began but he began anyway and saw it through to the end.
Jem is another character that displays great courage. His actions as he matures display his courageous spirit. He and his sister live pretty interesting lives despite the depression. To live during this time must have taken great courage in itself, even though Jem was just a boy. His father instills great values in Jem. That is where he gets his courage. One obvious way that Jem showed courage was when he stood with Atticus in front of the jail. He would not leave his father when Atticus was in trouble. A group of men were threatening Atticus and Tom Robinson in front of the county jail. Atticus said, “’Go home, Jem. Take Scout...