To Kill a Mockingbird – Courage I think that there are four main themes in the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. These being benevolence, prejudice, innocence, and most of all, courage. I believe that courage definitely plays a major role as a theme in scenes throughout this novel. For a younger child though, like Scout, courage is most often associated with some type of physical act, which involves danger. It is difficult for younger children to grasp the concept that greater courage is most often required in other aspects of life. Scout learns that the greatest courage can be found in a situation where a person knows that they are going to lose, yet still continues to fight the battle. “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s 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. Harper Lee portrays the idea of courage by first having Scout observe her father perform a physical act of courage when he shoots the mad dog. Although Atticus didn’t consider the act very courageous and was completely uninterested in proving anything to his children, Jem and Scout were proud of, and impressed by, his courage in such a precarious situation. But shooting something wasn’t really Atticus’ idea of courage. He viewed courage on more of an intellectual level, as a moral thing, not as something that can be proved with a weapon. Scout and Jem soon encounter the seemingly vindictiveness of Mrs Dubose. “Your father’s no better than the niggers and trash he works for!” Chapter 11, Page 113 When Mrs Dubose bad-mouthed Atticus, Jem decided that the best way to settle things was to ruin Mrs Dubose’s camellias. After Atticus learned of this stunt, Jem was made to read to her every afternoon, for a month. Mrs Dubose was a very sick lady, and had morphine to ease he…
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