In a bildungsroman such as To Kill a Mockingbird, moral lessons are learned by the maturing protagonist. One of the virtues that Scout and Jem both acquire from their experiences and the example of their father is that of courage.
Without question, Atticus displays courage in Chapter 10 when, unexpectedly, Sheriff Tate tosses him his rifle, and Atticus must take quick aim at the rabid dog coming his way.
With movements so swift they seemed simultaneous, Atticus's hand yanked a ball-tipped lever as he brought the gun to his shoulder. The rifle cracked....Tim Johnson didn't know what hit him. (Ch. 10)
In another instance of Atticus's calm courage, he and the children walk down the street together one day. When they reach the house of Mrs. Dubose, Atticus removes his hat and waves "gallantly to her" as he says, "Good evening, Mrs. Dubose! You look like a picture this evening." After talking to her for a while, Atticus returns his hat to his head, and he and Scout and Jem return home. Scout feels that her father has demonstrated tremendous courage in his calm and polite demeanor before Mrs. Dubose despite his knowledge of her having made insulting comments about him and the children:
It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived. (Ch.11)
Arguably the most courageous of Atticus's acts is his standing up to the mob that comes to the jailhouse in the night, demanding that he turn over Tom Robinson to them. As he sits in one of his office chairs propped on the front door of the jailhouse, Atticus appears to be reading his newspaper. When the dusty cars stop in front of the jail, Atticus calmly looks up from the newspaper, closes it, folds it deliberately, and drops it into his lap. He pushes his hat back and appears to have expected the "Old Sarum tribe." Seemingly undaunted by the mob, Atticus responds to one man's demand, "You know what we want....Get aside from the door, Mr. Finch," by telling Walter Cunningham that he and the others can turn around because Sheriff Tate is nearby. Then, when he is told that the men have sent Tate on a proverbial "wild goose chase," Atticus yet remains calm.
"Well, then...that changes things, doesn't it?"
"It do," another deep voice said.
"Do you really think so?" Atticus countered.
Atticus asks this question in the same tone as that which he uses with an opponent at checkers. Although his hands tremble as he puts down his newspaper, Atticus's voice continues to remain controlled, evincing his courage. Further, after Scout intervenes by greeting and talking with Mr. Cunningham, the tension of the mob is dispelled. It is only after the Sarum mob departs that Atticus wipes his face with his handkerchief and "blew his nose violently," revealing how nervous he was. He courageously refrained from displaying his fear to the Sarum men.