How does Jem, Scout, and Dill test their courage in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several ways Jem, Scout, and Dill test their courage as they mature and grow over the years in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird.  Here are a few examples:

When Jem, Scout, and Dill are rolling in a tire down the street, Scout rolls into the Radley yard.  Jem quickly runs into the yard to save her despite his fear of Boo Radley.

Jem and Dill decide to ask Boo out for ice cream and get a fishing pole and poke a note through the Radley window.  This shows their courage to go against the rumors about Boo and try to find out what Boo is really like.

Jem sneaks up on the porch of the Radley house to peek in the window while Dill keeps a lookout.  Jem sees a shadow on the wall and runs off.  In an attempt to get over the Radley fence, he catches his pants on the wire and has to take them off to escape.  Nathan Radley fires a shot into the air to scare off the intruders, and despite his fear, Jem goes back to get his pants off the fence and finds them repaired and folded neatly waiting for him.

Scout, Jem, and Dill know something is up when Atticus takes the car to the jailhouse the night Tom Robinson is moved there.  They sneak off to see what is going on, and as the lynch mob approaches Atticus sitting outside the jail protecting Tom, the children run to Atticus to protect him.  Jem refuses to leave, and Scout ends up dispersing the mob by saying “hey,” to Mr. Cunningham. 

Dill shows courage by running away from home to be with Scout and Jem in Maycomb.

Jem shows courage when he attempts to fight off Bob Ewell during the attack after the school play.

All of the children show courage during the trial when they realize that Atticus’ defense has failed.  Dill cries; however, all of the children show and understand the respect they have for Atticus’ brave stance.

Jem shows courage when he follows through with reading to Mrs. Dubose.  It was a difficult thing to do, and Jem shows his integrity by doing it. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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