Essay about Courage in To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

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Courage exists in several forms in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. As defined by Atticus Finch, real courage "…when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what” (149). The novel explores the how this real courage can be shown in different ways through the lives of many characters in Maycomb, particularly, Tom Robinson, Mrs. Dubose, and Atticus. Their courage is evident through their lifestyle, actions, and beliefs. One of the

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Despite his race and condition, by helping Mayella with favors, giving an honest testimony, and trying to escape prison, Tom Robinson exhibits real courage.
Mrs. Dubose demonstrates an astounding amount of courage in achieving independence from her morphine addiction. Atticus revealed Mrs. Dubose’s last wish to Jem as he explains the courageous task she had carried out: she wanted to “leave this world beholden to nothing and nobody” (148). As a punishment for destroying her camellia bushes, Jem Finch has to read to her for a month until her alarm clock goes off, or until dismissed. The reason behind this peculiar punishment was later revealed by Atticus that she was a morphine addict and that Jem’s daily readings “may have been some kind of distraction” (148) to keep her off the morphine for longer periods of time. Mrs. Dubose was old, sick, and already dying: “her face was the color of a dirty pillowcase”, with “old-age liver spots dotting her cheeks” (142) and “Dr. Reynolds told her she had only a few months left” (147-148). On top of that, her withdrawal symptoms were “horrible” 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” (142). Although she had the easy choice of continuing her daily intake of morphine, despite her old age and the awful withdrawal symptoms, she had real courage to start and go through with the process and, at the
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