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Who in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird has more direct and indirect characterization...

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isabellaz1002 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 4, 2009 at 10:25 AM via web

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Who in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird has more direct and indirect characterization that shows that they're a brave person?

Which character is the bravest? What are some direct and indirect characterizations found to prove that?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 30, 2010 at 6:18 AM (Answer #1)

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Atticus is a fine example of courage, as pointed out by my colleague's great answer.  His is a moral courage and conviction which we all admire.  I'd like to make a case for someone she alluded to, Mrs. Dubose, as being another excellent example of courage in this novel. Hers is an inner strength, one which Atticus also finds commendable. 

Indirectly, we see Mrs. Henry Lafayette DuBose as a strong woman, armed and ready to defend herself.  Her tongue is sharp and she is unafraid to speak her mind--even if she is belittling and prejudiced as she does so.

Later, when Jem and Scout are at her bedside, the picture is not pretty and she looks anything but courageous.  Strings of saliva and drool are off-putting, to say the least; and she regularly drifts in and out of alertness as they read to her.  These are indicators, we later find out, of a woman who is suffering the pangs and punishments of withdrawal from a potent drug.  She doesn't scream or shout or cry; she simply concentrates and overcomes.

Direct characterization of her courage comes from Atticus, as mentioned, when he uses her as an example to Jem and Scout.  He informs them of her morphine addiction and her bravery in overcoming her dependence. Only when we hear this do the items mentioned above look like courage, both to the reader and to the kids.

Mrs. DuBose could easily have lived the rest of her life dependent on the drug and content to see the world through a morphine haze.  Instead, she exhibits a personal courage which even Atticus finds astounding.

Lori Steinbach

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msbyrne | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 4, 2009 at 11:54 AM (Answer #2)

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Atticus is the most courageous character in the novel. His actions directly demonstrate his courage: for example, he agrees to defend Tom Robinson because he wants to hold his head up high and go to church to worship without feeling guilt. He tells Scout that the one thing not open to public scrutiny is a person's conscience, and he intends to live with a clear conscience. He also talks about the courage of Mrs. Dubose at the end of chapter 11. He tells Jem and Scout how much he admires Mrs. Dubose because of her hard choices, which foreshadows the hard choices Atticus will make in part two.

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