In amidst of the tragic events that occurs in the town of Maycomb, one positive theme that stand out throughout the whole time is courage. Its presence is observed by the narrator Scout from the characterisations of the central character Atticus, his influence on his children’s upbringing and other the members of the community that displays such qualities e. g. Mrs Dubose and Boo Radley. Atticus Finch is one of the most prominent and respected people in the town who has strong views on courage.
His role in the story serves as a moral backbone and fatherly figure to his children. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” This quote shows his open-mindness for truth by understanding people through their perspective, and he was courageous enough to act on this philosophy. Atticus displays bravery when he takes Tom’s case despite the consequences of his town turning against him and his children.
He represents Tom fairly in court for free, and in the face of criticism and threats of violence he stands for what he believes is right.
Atticus is not only a brave man himself but also a strong influence to his children as he goes to great pains to instruct Jem and Scout to be better human beings. “You’re gonna hear some ugly talk about this in school. But I want you to promise me one thing: That you won’t get into fights over it, no matter what they say to you. ” Although Scout fights other children who insult Atticus in an attempt to defend and stand up for him, she eventually learns that withholding violence is one of the highest forms of bravery.
On another occasion in the face of danger when a mad dog is running down the street, Atticus shoots it perfectly yet he hides that he is the town’s best marksmen, but emphasises that he is not courageous for shooting a dog dead in one shot, but because he had to. He disproves of the children’s fascination with guns and believes that guns do not make men brave. As Scout tells, “My father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived. ” One of the most significant lessons Jem learns was from Mrs Dubose, when he was made to go and read to her and her long-battled morphine addiction is revealed.
Instead of spending the rest of her life and dying painlessly under the influence of morphine which as the easy and “acceptable” option, Mrs Dubose chooses to break free in an agonising way, despite of how far her sickness has become, knowing that she will die in the process. “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is 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 though no matter what. ” Atticus holds Mrs.
Dubose as the ultimate definition of bravery and she is a person he admires as having “real courage”. This form of bravery can be reflected back to Atticus when he defends Tom Robinson. He argues the case to the best of his ability even though he knows it will be nearly impossible for a white jury’s verdict of a black man to be “not guilty”. A different take on courage is within the community, when the fire occurs. “The men of Maycomb, in all degrees or dress and undress, took furniture from Miss Maudie’s house to a yard across the street.
The response that arises is immediate. The phrase “in all degrees of dress and undress” stresses that the men do not need time to think but come straight from their beds to help regardless of their attire. “Looks like all of Maycomb was out tonight” Even during this time, Boo left his place so Scout will not be cold. Then it turns out ironically later on that Boo who has been an object of fear and suspicion at the beginning, risks his own life to save Jem and Scout’s lives from Bob Ewell. His courage overrides the town’s prejudice to come their aid.
Even Jem runs back to help Scout, knowing he stood no chance against a drunk adult, yet he succeeded by buying enough time for help. It is essential to note how the lack of courage influences many people. The character of Bob Ewell proves a foil for Atticus, where the later is a noble and virtuous man and the former a coward. Ewell never directly faces those whom he thought have wronged him and held grudges against everyone connected to the case. His actions give evidence of this when he vandalises Judge Taylor’s home and harasses Tom’s widow Helen Robinson at a distance.
His need for petty revenge is his greatest cowardice, especially when he resorts to assaulting Atticus’ children in order to make himself feel more of a man, resulting in his own death. The characters fight for what they believe in throughout the entire book in one way or another and bravery is shown by almost everyone in times when the situation demands it. Although some events may turn out badly, courage is an essential and desirable quality which will always make the world a better place to live in.