To Kill a Mockingbird: Examples of Courage
I remember believing that no matter what I did, I would never accomplish riding a bike by myself. In the summer of fifth grade, my friend Amy gave me bike lessons. I always felt confident riding with Amy because she would hold onto the bike, and I knew I would not fall. One day, she told me it was time for me to ride the bike alone. I suddenly got nervous. I knew I could not do it, but I was willing to try it. I started pedaling and she held onto the bike. I closed my eyes for awhile and when I opened them I looked back, but Amy was not next to me, she was far behind.
I was astonished, I was riding a bike all by myself and I knew what courage felt like after that moment. In To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus explains the true meaning of courage. He said that courage is to be able to do something knowing that you might fail attempting to do it, not using a weapon. I believe Atticus is correct; courage is doing something even if not accomplishing it. To some, courage is carrying a gun and using it to kill others. In To Kill a Mockingbird there are many examples of people believing courage means to hurt others.
Miss. Maudie told Scout that her father was the “One-Shot Finch” but that he would never shoot until he had to. “Look like he’d be proud of it” (130). Scout suggested that her father should be happy and showing off his unique shooting skills. To Scout, the idea of her father shooting and killing Tim Johnson, a mad dog, is courageous. Scout may be right; it was courageous of her father shooting the mad dog that could have done harm to the other townspeople. But Scout is wrong; she is misunderstanding the true definition of courage.
Even if shooting the mad dog was courageous, what makes it courageous is that her father was still willing to shoot the dog knowing that he might have missed or the fact that he did not want to shoot at all. To others, courage is using a weapon and killing others, but they are wrong. The true meaning of courage is what Atticus believed; to be able to do something knowing that it might not be able to be done. On the contrary, courage is to do something even if it can not be done. In To Kill a Mockingbird examples of courage are shown throughout the book. A great example of courage is when Mrs.
Dubose died. “You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her” (149). Atticus said this about Mrs. Dubose after she died because she was addicted to morphine. She was willing to go through everyday suffering, but most people would have not wanted to go though what she went though and they would have wanted to die mercifully. Mrs. Dubose was brave for dying without fear until she took her last breath. Atticus knew that what Mrs. Dubose did was courageous and that is why he said she was the bravest person he ever knew.
The true meaning of courage is shown in To Kill a Mockingbird which is to take action in doing something even if it means losing at the end. Courage is not just carrying a weapon to kill others. Atticus was the one to say what the true definition of courage was and he is a great example of courage himself. Atticus was willing to help Tom Robinson with his case involving Mayella Ewell. After the jury read the verdict, Atticus was not surprised that he lost because he knew that no matter what he did, he would still lose at the end. -Atticus Finch won’t win, he can’t win, but he’s the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that” (289). Mrs. Maudie said this and it was true. In the 1930’s where the story takes place, a black man’s words would ever win over a white man’s, but Atticus was courageous enough to give it a try. Courage is to be willing to take a risk at an event even if not winning at the end. Courage is to be able to do something even if unsure of doing it.
I believe Atticus’s definition of courage is correct which is to make oneself to do something knowing that winning is a slim chance. Courage is not just using a weapon to harm others. Take Mrs. Dubose and Atticus for example, they each did something knowing that they might have lost, and they did. They still went through with all the good and bad outcomes of each event. In the end, they both won courage. Courage is willing to do something even if losing, but even if the result is failure, accomplishment comes with it because one accomplishes what they thought could not be done.