The Only Consequence Essay

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John Ruskin stated that “What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.” Throughout history, people have striven to make their life count and to leave something behind for the world to remember. Ruskin asserts that it does not matter what you think, know, or believe; the only way to make an impact on the world is to act. In the end, it is action that makes a difference, and it is action that the world will remember.
In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, a constant theme that runs through the book is one that highlights the need for action. Atticus Finch, a lawyer in 1930’s Alabama, is faced with challenging “a white man’s word against a black man’s” (Lee 187). Unfortunately for Atticus Finch, during this time and in cases such as this one, the “white man always wins” (Lee 187). Atticus wanted to believe that “in [The United State’s] courts, all men are created equal”; however, the defendant, Tom Robinson’s case went into “the essence of a man’s conscience”, and in Atticus’ conscience, he knew that “the white man always wins” (Lee 173, 87, 187). Despite the fact that Atticus had the opportunity to refuse the case, he couldn’t “go to church and worship God if [he] didn’t try to help that man” (Lee 87). Thus, Atticus Finch took the case and acted on his belief that Tom Robinson was a “quiet, humble, respectable” person, and deserved as fair of a trial as he could get (Lee 172). Atticus Finch knew that just believing in something wasn’t enough; he needed to follow through on those beliefs.
Martin Luther King Jr. is known for his familiarity with the need for action. In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, King claims that “direct action seeks to... foster... a tension... which is necessary for growth” (King 175). Through the struggle for civil rights during this time in America’s history, there were many white supporters of King’s ethics; however, many of them refused to actively...

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