Which character in The Watsons Go to Birmingham shows courage?
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Kenny shows courage in the book by keeping his head in the whirlpool and going toward the church fire to see if his sister is okay.
Although Byron does rescue Kenny from the “Wool Poo,” the dangerous water in Collier's Landing, Kenny keeps his head as best he can for one so young. Kenny is brave enough to go into the water, and even though he is caught in the whirlpool and frightened, he does not lose his cool.
“O.K., Kenny,” I said to myself, “you know you’re going to be all right. Just get real calm and swim back to land….” (ch 13, p. 176)
Kenny manages to talk himself out of panic, keeping himself alive until his brother is able to come and rescue him. Even during the rescue he does a good job of keeping both of them alive.
When Kenny finds out that the church has been bombed, it is a difficult time for him already because he is still reeling from his near-death experience. Nonetheless, all he can think about is his sister’s safety. He goes after Joey to make sure she’s okay, even though he knows he is headed into another dangerous situation.
At the burnt church, Kenny sees a shoe he thinks belongs to his sister. When Kenny is trying to remove the shoe from the rubble, he has a vision of the Wool Poo. Despite his fear and the danger of the situation, he carries on.
Oh, man. I gave the shoe one more hard tug and it popped loose from a frilly white sock. I got real scared. I walked away as slowly and quietly as I could out of the church. (ch 14, p. 185)
Kenny is young and does not fully comprehend what happens, but to him getting the shoe is important because it represents his sister. In his way, he is trying to save her.
Although Kenny is young and wrenched by fear, he demonstrates great bravery. Courage is not having no fear, it is continuing to act once you are afraid—and Kenny does this.
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