Essay by knightguru November 2014

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In "To Kill a Mockingbird" courage is an important theme and is shown through several important characters in the novel. They are Mrs. Dubose, Atticus, Jem and Maycomb county altogether. Courage exists in several forms as showed in the novel, such as childish courage and moral courage.

Mrs. Dubose is the first character that depicts strong examples of courage. She was a morphine addict and was addicted to morphine as a painkiller prescribed by her doctor for many years. Despite her age and weak state she could have just "make things easier" by just continuing to take morphine as Atticus put it, she chose the other path. Instead, she persevered, choosing to "die beholden to nothing and no one", which shows her willpower. Also, Atticus wanted Jem to read to Mrs. Dubose not only as a punishment for his wrongs, but he also wanted to show Jem what true courage really was.

He wanted to show Jem that a courageous person is not "a man with a gun in his hand", and that Mrs. Dubose was a good example and Atticus looks up to her despite her prejudiced remarks against him such as "nigger-lover. Upon the death of Mrs. Dubose, Atticus also mentioned that "she won", not by having a gun in her hands, but with her sheer will power and determination. He hoped that Jem and Scout would be able to respect such a courageous old lady she was. Lee also indirectly trying to show that there is goodness in everyone, despite their evil natures.

Another character that portrayed different kinds of courage is Jem. However, his perceptions of courage changed throughout the course of chapters 1 - 16, as he began to mature. In the beginning of the novel, Scout mentioned that Jem had "never declined a dare"...