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Three characters that display courage?I'm trying to write this essay (below) and I...

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lynnajohnson | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 27, 2010 at 4:07 AM via web

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Three characters that display courage?

I'm trying to write this essay (below) and I need some help getting started.  What do you think would be three characters that show this type of courage?  Please explain briefly why you chose that character also.  Thanks so much!

Essay:  Atticus redefines the definition of courage as attempting something even when it seems impossible.  What are three characters that display this type of courage throughout the novel?

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted January 27, 2010 at 4:49 AM (Answer #1)

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I would have to start with Boo Radley.  He has been kept away from people since he was a child.  He may have observed them through his window or night wanderings, but he has had no communication or physical touch with them.  He exhibits courage when he takes a risk to reach out to the children by putting treats for them in the tree and by sewing Jem's shirt.

Boo displays courage by protecting the children against Bob Ewell.  He shows courage by taking Jem to Atticus, going into the house, staying in the seat, touching Jem, and allowing Scout to touch him and later walk home with him.

Scout demonstrates courage.  She is very much her father's daughter but a little bit rough around the eadges.  She speaks up for what she thinks is right or wrong and does not back down when someone makes fun of her. 

Scout does not allow pressure from people in the community to influence her feelings about black people.  She is brave enough to touch Boo Radley and walk him home after he saves her and Jem.

Judge Taylor shows courage.  The judge is a member of the community.  He presents  himself as a man who allows a fair trial in the courtroom.  Many people in the south, even judges, did not give fair trails for black people.  He shows a sense of humor in a difficult situation, and does not allow the others to influence his presentation in the courtroom. 

Being a judge is an appointed position, and he risked votes by staying true to the rights of a black person in the courtroom.

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 27, 2010 at 7:40 AM (Answer #2)

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You have to read the end of chapter 11 with thorough attention. Atticus uses the last paragraphs to say some really cool stuff about courage. I bet you will need quotes and that right there is a great spot to snag the quotes that will impress your teacher.

That chapter is about Mrs. Henry Dubose. She is courageous because she worked to die free of her morphine addiction. We will all die one day, but no one wants to move away from this life not knowing what's next while in serious pain.

Obviously Atticus is a courageous character. He risked his reputation. He knew he couldn't win his case, but tried anyway. It takes courage to do something that goes against the flow of mainstream society.

I think Tom is courageous for claiming to be not guilty. He told the truth throughout his whole testimony. He could have just said he was guilty and hoped he would get a lighter sentence. He knew the culture was already against him.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 27, 2010 at 1:07 PM (Answer #3)

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In addition to the characters mentioned in the other posts, several of the minor characters in To Kill a Mockingbird also display courage on more than one occasion.

  • LINK DEAS.  Deas employs both Tom Robinson and his wife, Helen. Link defiantly stands up in court and announces that Tom has never given him a problem. His outburst earns the wrath of Judge Taylor, who orders him to be silent. Later, when Bob Ewell accosts Helen, Deas threatens to have Ewell jailed and orders him off his property.
  • B. B. UNDERWOOD.  As the editor of the local paper, Underwood constantly invites criticism for his editorials. Following Tom's death, he blasts the actions of the guards and of the jury for finding him guilty. Of course, he covers Atticus at the jail (with shotgun in hand when the lynch mob arrives to take Tom away.
  • MAUDIE ATKINSON.  Miss Maudie is never afraid to speak her mind even if it means angering those she criticizes. She stands up to Miss Stephanie and Aunt Alexandra, and speaks out about the racism that is found in Maycomb. 

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