Rizzieri fears which in turn allows them to

Rizzieri BalestraSt. Pius XENG 2DDecember 22, 2017 Courage of a Mockingbird Courage is presented in different forms in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus describes real courage as “…when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what” (Lee 149). Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird  Harper Lee uses the theme of courage to help characters confront their fears which in turn allows them to develop into more well-rounded individuals. Through many experiences Tom Robinson, Mrs. Dubose and Atticus develop into dynamic characters.  One of the characters who show real courage is Tom Robinson. Being an African-American and living a generally prejudiced town like Maycomb, Tom was in an unfortunate position from the start. Tom was accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman and as Atticus says, “in our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins” (Lee 295). He had courage because the odds were stacked against him but that could not stop him. During the trial, Tom could have lied about his reasoning for helping Mayella, to keep himself from getting into more trouble, “I felt sorry for her, she seemed to try more’n the rest of ’em” (Lee 264). Instead, he showed real courage by showing the real cause of his actions. Since Jim Crow laws were active during these times in Maycomb, Tom’s answer was not appreciated by the white community, “below us, nobody liked Tom Robinson’s answer” (Lee 264). It showed that he, a black man, was better off than a white person. Tom also had real courage to go and help Mayella out in the first place because he didn’t have to, yet, he still did because of the generosity and goodwill in his heart. Another act of courage Tom did was when he tried to escape prison by running over the fence, “I guess Tom was tired of white men’s chances and preferred to take his own” (Lee 315). He did not stand a chance though, because he only had one good arm and was against guards with weapons, but he tried anyways, thinking it was the right thing to do. Despite his pigment and disability, by helping Mayella, being honest, and trying to escape prison, Tom Robinson demonstrates real courage.  Mrs. Dubose is an amazing example of courage in the novel by overcoming her morphine addiction. Atticus told Jem Mrs. Dubose’s ambitious goal to, “leave this world beholden to nothing and nobody” (Lee 148). She showed courage through her determination to become better before her passing. Since Jem destroyed Mrs. Dubose’s bushes, Atticus instructed him to read to her for a month. The reason behind this strange discipline was later found out to be because she was a morphine addict and Jem reading to her, “may have been some kind of distraction” (Lee 148) to keep her away from the morphine since she is busy. Mrs. Dubose was very old and on the brink of death, “her face was the color of a dirty pillowcase”, with “old-age liver spots dotting her cheeks” (Lee 142) and “Dr. Reynolds told her she had only a few months left” (Lee 147-148). Also, the symptoms of her withdrawal were very bad according to Scout, she had an “undulating tongue” with “cords of saliva collecting on her lips” that made her “mouth seem to have a private existence of its own” (Lee 142). Even though Mrs. Dubose could have fed her addiction she built up the courage to push through the withdrawals and break free from her addiction. According to Atticus, Mrs. Dubose was “the bravest person I ever knew” (Lee 149). Atticus sees courage an important moral and not a weapon. He told Jem that real courage is not “a man with a gun in his hand” (Lee 149), but instead be in Mrs. Dubose’s situation and to have the courage and determination to finish what you started, in this case, overcoming addiction.  Real courage is “… when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what” (Lee 149). This quote comes from Atticus Finch, a lawyer, and loving father, who decides to have the courage to take the Tom Robinson case and also bring forward powerful arguments to the trial. Despite living in Maycomb, a town with lots of prejudice against African-Americans and all the criticism he and his family receive. He is called ‘nigger lover’ by the citizens of Maycomb and has “…everything to lose from this” (Lee 195) according to Link Deas. He has the courage to look past the adversity and will not stop until he reaches his goal of winning the trial, which unfortunately does not turn out. Atticus Finch stood by his morals of justice and did all he could possibly do to expose the truth about Tom Robinson. He does not do this because he has to but because it is the correct thing to do even though Scout says, “most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong” (Lee 139). Again, Atticus goes against society and displays his pure morals from his real courage. This is exhibited as Atticus states, “that boy might go to the chair, but he’s not going till the truth’s told” (Lee 117). In Atticus’s point of view, “simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win”(Lee 101). He knew he was putting “a white man’s word against a black man’s” (Lee 117). It was a one-sided battle but he kept trying. During another part of the novel, Atticus displays real courage when the lynch mob comes to the jailhouse to take matters into their own hands and kill Tom Robinson. Even though he knew that his life was on the line and he was outnumbered by people and weapons, Atticus still protected Tom. Atticus Finch displays both moral and physical courage extremely well through his actions of taking on Tom Robinson’s case and by putting his own life at risk to protect Tom and doing all in his power to bring justice.  In conclusion, courage is the ability to confront something even if one is “licked from the start”. Tom Robinson, Mrs. Dubose, and Atticus Finch all display real courage throughout Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Tom Robinson, being an African-American, living in a prejudiced town and having a crippled arm, still helped Mayella, gave a truthful testimony and tried to escape prison. Mrs. Dubose courageously overcame her morphine addiction despite her age and pains. Atticus’s real courage drove him to put aside the criticism and risk, and take up and fight the Tom Robinson’s controversial case. It is evident that these three characters in To Kill a Mockingbird display actions and thoughts of real courage that makes them better individuals, even if they are fighting a losing battle.Works Cited”To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Comments are closed.