Courage in To Kill a Mockingbird Conclusion In addition to Jem's risking his life to save his sister, what are some examples of characters displaying courage in the end of the novel?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Courage in To Kill a Mockingbird Conclusion

In addition to Jem's risking his life to save his sister, what are some examples of characters displaying courage in the end of the novel?

Although they are minor characters in the novel, Helen Robinson, Judge Taylor, and Mr. Underwood also showed courage.

With a few exceptions, the people of Maycomb hated Tom Robinson and wanted to see him convicted--or worse. Helen had to have been terrified every day, but she still left whatever safety she might have had at home to go to work every day to support her family. She continued to go to work even after Bob Ewell began harassing her.

Judge Taylor knowingly stirred up a dangerous hornets' nest when he asked Atticus to take Tom's case, potentially exposing himself to the anger of the town. The judge could have followed procedure and handed Tom's case over to the inexperienced public defender, ensuring that Tom would not have received such an effective defense and that his case would have just gone away.

The people in Maycomb didn't take Mr. Underwood very seriously, but he still needed courage to write such an emotional editorial after Tom's conviction. Also, the night Atticus stood up to the lynch mob at the jail, it was Mr. Underwood who silently observed the scene with a double-barreled shotgun at hand, ready to protect Tom and Atticus if he was needed. Atticus didn't know Mr. Underwood was even there, until the confrontation was over.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Courage in To Kill a Mockingbird Conclusion

In addition to Jem's risking his life to save his sister, what are some examples of characters displaying courage in the end of the novel?

Jem, Heck, and Boo certainly do display courage in the novel's conclusion. In a more subtle way, Atticus displays courage, also.

After Boo brings the injured Jem home after the children have been attacked by Bob Ewell, Heck arrives and tells Atticus that Ewell is dead. Atticus believes at first that Jem has killed Ewell. He tells Heck that even though Jem was defending himself and Scout, Jem will have to answer for his actions according to the law.

As much as he loves his son, Atticus doesn't ask Heck to cover up for Jem to spare him what Atticus believes must be done. Atticus has the courage of his convictions.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jem does risk his life to rescue Scout.  He struggles with Bob Ewell in the dark, even though he is not sure with whom it is he is fighting.  In the struggle, Jem's arm is broken and he is severly injured.  It is then that Boo Radley takes care of Ewell and carries Jem across the street to his home.  Scout is amazed of the events--she has been crushed in her outfight and the wire of her costume made her very uncomfortable, she is proud of her brother's defense, and she is frightened that he is hurt to the point that he may not recover.  In addition, she is finally laying eyes on Boo Radley.  His character becomes very clear to both she and Jem at this point in the book.

afi80fl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let's not forget Heck Tate!  He had the courage to stand up to Atticus, asserting that Bob Ewell fell on his own knife, rather than being stabbed by Boo Radley.  While Atticus believes that it was Jem who killed Bob Ewell, and has the courage to allow his son to face formal charges rather than to let people speculate as to his guilt/innocence, Heck assures Atticus that it wasn't Jem.  When he says he's not much, but that he's still sherriff in town, he is essentially admitting his lack of proficiency while standing up for his personal sense of morality (preventing Boo Radley from being swarmed by thankful townspeople, and respecting his wish for privacy.)

rshaffer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One other character that shouldn't be overlooked is Mrs. Dubose.  Although on the surface she appears to be a mean woman, Mrs. Dubose is physically suffering with a terminal disease.  She is also living with the emotional torment of knowing that she is going to die.  In spite of this, she refuses to be on morphine at the end of her life because she wants to die with all of her faculties about her.  This is a truly courageous act, to bear the pain and suffering of a disease in order to die with dignity.  I tend to think that most people would opted for the medication.

rshaffer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Boo Radley is also a character who shows courage at the end of the novel.  For years he was a recluse, with the only interaction being that of his family and limited communication with Jem and Scout through the hole in the tree.  In protecting Jem and Scout by killing Bob Ewell, Boo Radley puts his own peaceful existence at risk because once exposed to society, Boo Radley will be ridiculed and talked about throughout the entire town.  He puts those children before his own welfare, and that is the true definition of courage.

zumba96 | Student

Boo Radley saving the children from the clutches of Bob Ewell is a great example because it would have been hard for the children to be unscathed if Boo was not there. He got out of his house and even killed Bob Ewell. Atticus is also a great example because he stood up for justice even though this was very hard and he got a lot of hate for it but he did not care.  

krishna-agrawala | Student

The biggest display of courage is by Atticus in agreeing to defend Tom Robinson in the court. There is lot of opposition to this from so many residents of Maycomb, and this opposition has to be faced not only by Atticus but also his children. Still Atticus chooses to do his duty rather than succumb to the pressure of society. This kind of courage, exercised in cold blood is much more difficult and commendable than reacting courageously to a dangerous situation suddenly. Thus, Atticus also shows great courage when he faces the angry crowd outside the jail that has come to get at Tom Robinson.

The behaviour of Jem in disobeying Atticus, and refusing to leave when he sees that safety of Atticus is threatened by the crowd outside the jail, is another incident which i find very impressive. In this incident, Jem is displaying courage not only in his willingness to share the consequences of threat faced by Atticus, but also in disobeying Atticus. This is courage of conviction. He is doing what he believes to be right, rather than what he is told to do.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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