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Theme Of Courage In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

1796 words - 7 pages

To Kill A Mockingbird is a book about courage to what extent do you agree with this?

Harper Lee's first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, displays the life of a small southern family struggling through the depression in Maycomb, Alabama.
Seen through the innocent eyes of a young child are the events and people of Maycomb. Courage is a major theme in the novel but there are other themes like the Hypocrisy, Protecting the innocent and Prejudice, which are brought out to the same extent.

The author explores the idea of courage in the novel.

Atticus shows true courage by defending Tom Robinson, a black man charged with the rape of a white woman. Atticus continues to fight for justice despite knowing he can’t win the case because he is doing what he knows is right. The town is against this…..
This is shown when Atticus watches over Tom Robinson outside his goal cell the night he has been moved to the local goal. There are concerns about the possibility of a lynch mob.

Mrs. Dubose is another example of true courage in this novel. Mrs. Dubose always yells at the children, enraging Jem. One Day when she insults Atticus, Jem wrecks her garden. As Punishment he is forced to read to her for a month. During this time Mrs. Dubose seems in a fog and has fits towards the end of the sessions. About a month after Jem finished his punishment Mrs. Dubose Dies. Atticus explains that Mrs. Dubose was a morphine addict because of her illness but she had decided that she wanted to leave this world beholden to nothing and nobody. By overcoming a morphine addiction, we see that Ms. Dubose was a woman of tremendous strength and character. She was not going to spend her last days as a drug addict, and despite the pain that it caused her, she succeeded. Atticus points this out to Jem to help him see what true courage is.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know your licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.”

This incident is significant because it shows the children what true courage is and that although Mrs. Dubose seemed like a horrible person she was actually a brave strong lady.

Another important concern brought out in the text is protecting the innocent.

The idea of mockingbirds in this text carries great symbolic weight, mockingbirds are considered the innocents in the novel. It is considered a sin to kill a mockingbird, which symbolizes the destruction innocence. Tom Robinson, Arthur “Boo” Radley, Jem and Mr. Raymond can all be identified as mockingbirds - innocents who have been injured or destroyed through contact with evil.
“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a...

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