In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus has a lot to say about courage in Part I when he explains that Mrs. Dubose is the bravest person he knows. He himself explains the qualities of a morally courageous person:
”I wanted you to know 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. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” In the Part II, Atticus faces the Tom Robinson trial. He goes into it thinking he will probably lose the case, but he sees it through no matter what. he knows that defending an innocent man against a trumped up charge is the only moral thing to do. Atticus faces a lynch mob, the contempt of many of his fellow citizens, risk to his family, career and reputation to do what he considers the right thing. He exhibits moral courage – genuine bravery in the face of terrible odds.
Mrs. Dubose qualifies as this kind of courageous person because she fights her addiction to morphine, despite the odds against her and the fact that she has every justifiable excuse in the world to take painkillers as she dies, painfully. She dies "beholden to nothing and nobody" according to her moral compass.
Another character in the novel, Dolphus Raymond, feels as Atticus does about things. He does not discriminate against the negro population of Maycomb, but neither does he stand up in public to claim the correctness of his actions. Instead, he feigns drunkenness to give the town an excuse for why he would choose to live his life with the blacks. Instead of showing moral courage, he hides behind the façade of alcoholism to justify his actions.
Posted by vkpteach
on March 17, 2009 at 8:04 AM (Answer #1)