Courage is mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. In the real world, people are often given difficult situations that many do not want to face. Through their own values and decisions, they choose to either persevere through their own problems or take the easy way out, which often ends negatively for the person. In “To Kill A Mockingbird”, Harper Lee captures the struggle for people throughout the world to face challenges with honesty, perseverance, and courage in the actions of the characters that she has created. She was able to demonstrate the outcomes of those who persevere, such as Atticus, Mrs. Dubose, and those who choose cowardice, like Bob Ewell.
An excellent example of courage and perseverance, is Mrs. Dubose. The cantankerous, old lady was a figure of misery and hate in Jem Finch’s life. However, she was also, as Atticus states, “the bravest person I ever knew” (149). Mrs. Dubose was a morphine addict, however, through her own values, she decided that she would die “beholden to nothing and nobody” (149) and continue to love without the use of morphine to her very last day. Knowing that it would be painful, she continued to live, even if it meant having violent fits and left her in an uncomfortable position. Mrs. Dubose had the courage to deal with the pain, sticking with her values and her last goal, which ultimately lead to her fulfilling her goal.
Atticus is another example of courage and perseverance. He was able to endure the insults thrown at him and continued to defend Tom Robinson. He went against the entire community’s beliefs, shaming the family name, and even as far as putting his children in danger, to continue following his own values of equal rights. Despite how hard he fought, he did not win. However, his actions through defending the Tom Robinson case was able to influence Jem and Scout, and taught them the values of courage and perseverance.
The final example is an example of cowardice. Bob Ewell was a cowardly man. He chose to blame Mayella Ewell’s injuries on Tom Robinson, and by shifting the blame, he took the easy way out. Through his actions, Harper Lee proves to us how humans attempt to avoid the hardships that come along the path of courage.
In the end Harper Lee was able to demonstrate the human struggle that lead them to being either courageous or cowardly. People today continue to choose cowardice over courage and it continues to cause unnecessary problems within society. If Harper Lee has taught us anything, it is that “courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing that you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyways and see through it no matter what” (149).
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