To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 'To Kill a Mockingbird is a book about courage'. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Essay by nc69High School, 10th gradeB, February 2004

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Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a novel that reflects the courage performed by certain individuals within a harsh world of racial prejudice and discrimination. The strength to endure or confront hardships and dangers are characterized by various characters throughout the novel. Courage can be represented in physical, mental or moral form and are evident in Atticus Finch, Jem Finch, Mrs Dubose and Boo Radley.

Atticus Finch characterizes various aspects of courage. He is a lawyer of the small 1930s town, Maycomb County. Being a wise, diplomatic and intelligent man he is respected by the general community. Until he agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white girl. Atticus' actions lead to constant taunts and harassment from the racist townsfolk to himself and his children. Atticus shows moral courage, as he would rather go against the racial intolerance of society, then to go against his own moral values.

Atticus states,

"If I didn't (defend Tom) I couldn't hold up my head in town..." Pg 83

Atticus realises that the dominant views of society would make it impossible for him to defend a black man and win. Yet, he remains determined and defends Tom Robinson to the best of his abilities. He says,

"Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win". Pg 84

He demonstrates mental courage. Even when he realises the tragic conclusion of the trail, the qualities of will power and determination are evident in him.

Throughout the novel Atticus establishes this mental courage, he constantly disregards and endures the ruthless comments, made by the white community about the trial and teaches his children to do the same. This ability to withstand the treatment of the folks...