To Kill a Mockingbird Essay-Emotional/Moral Courage

1417 Words Nov 7th, 2006 6 Pages
To Kill A Mockingbird Essay-Emotional/Moral Courage

Webster's dictionary defines courage as "mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty." According to Atticus Finch, one of the main characters in To Kill A Mockingbird, "Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." (Chapter 11, Page 124) No matter how you define it, Harper Lee definitely portrays the theme of mental courage in this book. The book demonstrates that mental courage is fighting what you believe in no matter the consequence. It is one of the most predominant themes and is shown in many of the characters, including Atticus, Jem and Scout, who all show mental
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In addition, Jem is faced with a courageous situation in regards to the Radley house. His courage stems from fear of receiving a whipping from Atticus, and more important, his disapproval. Jem is willing to risk his life in order to save his father from showing disappointment. The threat of Mr. Radley waiting for the intruder with his gun instills fear within Jem. However, Jem overcomes this fear in order to sustain Atticus' faith. Being the only and eldest son places pressure upon Jem to set an example and implant pride within his father. The possibility of being shot is an obstacle Jem must overcome with mental courage, which he does. Lastly, Jem also shows mental courage when he stops himself from bragging about Atticus and how he was a very good shooter. When Atticus shot the mad dog, Jem found out that his father was a very good shooter and he wanted to tell everyone in school about it. But, he knew that Atticus did not consider a man with a gun in his hand real courage and so Jem kept quiet and did not brag about it, which took mental discipline and courage on his part.

Finally, Scout, being a little girl, shows tremendous mental courage and does not fear putting her life at risk to save other people. Early in the novel, Scout illustrates the courage she embodies. On her first day of school, Scout acts as an ambassador for the entire class. She takes the duty of informing Miss Caroline of Walter Cunningham's situation. Miss Caroline had just