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What are two ways Mrs. Dubose and Atticus Finch show acts of courage in "To Kill a...

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demarcus | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 11, 2008 at 3:28 AM via web

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What are two ways Mrs. Dubose and Atticus Finch show acts of courage in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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teacherscribe | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted December 11, 2008 at 4:14 AM (Answer #1)

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Mrs. Dubose illustrates courage by choosing to, as Atticus says, "'to leave this world beholden to nothing and nobody'" (111).  What he means by that is Mrs. Dubose was going to break her addiction to morphine before she dies.  Ultimately, it doesn't really matter that she is addicted to morphine; she is still going to die.  But she doesn't want to die an addict.  Thus, she is brave and courageous.

Another way that she is brave is that though she is going to fight a losing batter (she will die regardless of what she does), she still chooses to put up a fight.  This is why Atticus calls her "'the bravest person I ever knew'" (112).  This, of course, foreshadows the losing fight that Atticus is going to put up in part two of the novel.

Atticus is brave in multiple ways.  But one way is how he accepts the burden to kill the mad dog Tim Johnson in chapter 10.  Though the responsibility rightfully belongs to sheriff Tate, he puts the burden on Atticus because he is a much better shot.  Though he has given up shooting and hunting, Atticus, nevertheless, does the courageous thing and kills the rabid dog to protect his family and friends.

Of course, the fact that Atticus has accepted the Tom Robinson case is the best example of courage in the novel. When very few people are willing to do the right thing, Atticus doesn't hesitate.  It will be a losing battle, but it's one he'll fight nonetheless.

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