How does Atticus show courage in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Atticus is a man of integrity, and he shows courage through upholding his strong values. He is brave enough to practice and live according to the principles in which he believes, and he insists that his children also adhere to his ethical standards—no matter the risk or cost. One of Atticus's most courageous acts is his taking on the defense of Tom Robinson. Even though defending a black man is dangerous in Maycomb due to racism and prejudice, he does so because he knows it is just and his ethics demand it. 

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Atticus Finch is an appealing character in part because he possesses tremendous courage but rarely feels the need to show it. Instead, he tries to teach his children to identify courage in other people. This approach is most obvious in his defense of Mrs. Dubose and his insistence that Jem behave properly toward her. Atticus also combines modesty with courage. He had not boasted about his prowess with a rifle, so his children had no idea he was a sharpshooter. He only shows this when he quietly takes his place in the street to defend the townspeople against a rabid dog.

In deciding to take the position of Tom Robinson’s defense attorney, Atticus combines courage with either naïveté or recklessness. As a firm believer in justice, he knows it is important for a prominent attorney to represent Robinson so that he can obtain the best possible defense. He either underestimates or disregards the depth and extent of his town’s racism, however, as he fails to recognize that he is...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 880 words.)

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