How is Scout Finch courageous in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?

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One could argue that Scout shows courage in refusing to take any nonsense from anyone. A prime example occurs when her cousin Francis starts saying unpleasant things about Atticus . Whatever Aunt Alexandra might want her to be, Scout's not a sweet, demure little lady who'll ignore such slights against...

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One could argue that Scout shows courage in refusing to take any nonsense from anyone. A prime example occurs when her cousin Francis starts saying unpleasant things about Atticus. Whatever Aunt Alexandra might want her to be, Scout's not a sweet, demure little lady who'll ignore such slights against her father's character. Instead, she attacks Francis and gives him a good hiding.

Now this is not to say that Scout's behavior is in any way acceptable. It most certainly is not. However, one can still admire the courage that Scout displays in defending her father's honor against an outrageous slur. Though the manner in which she chooses to defend Atticus may be unacceptable, there's no doubt that Scout's heart is in the right place.

In such a situation it takes an awful lot of courage to stand up and be counted, though if Scout had refrained from resorting to fisticuffs to make her point, her courage would've been even more admirable. As it is, we can deplore Scout's actions while still recognizing her bravery in defending her father's good name.

To some extent, it also takes a fair amount of courage for Scout to challenge her new teacher, Miss Caroline, when she attempts to give Walter Cunningham a quarter for his lunch. Scout could've kept her mouth shut, but she did the right thing in pointing out that Walter's too proud to borrow money. Although all she got for her trouble was a rap across the knuckles, she still showed considerable bravery in challenging her new teacher.

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Scout, though young, demonstrates tremendous courage throughout the story. There are several instances which describe her courage well, but perhaps none more so than when she intervenes with the mob threatening her father, Atticus.

Some people argue that this doesn’t display much courage, since Scout is somewhat unaware of the danger she and her father are in during this scene. However, she is clearly afraid in the situation, even if she doesn’t understand quite how dire it is. When she intervenes and begins talking with the men in the riot, she shows that she is unafraid and able to stand up in frightening situations. While she seems confused as to what is occurring or what she should actually do, her instincts drive her to action, encourage her to try to talk the men out of any adverse action. It is very telling that her instinct is to act, and this shows her underlying courage.

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Towards the beginning of the novel, Scout demonstrates small acts of courage by following Jem and Dill as they impersonate their reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley, and attempt to get a look at him by peeking through his windows at night. Scout is terrified of Boo Radley and views him as a "malevolent phantom," which is why following Jem and Dill on their raids demonstrates her courage. Scout also depicts her courage by defending Jem in front of the Old Sarum bunch in chapter 15. After Scout runs into the lynch mob surrounding Atticus, one of the men grab Jem by the collar and Scout defends her brother by kicking the man in the groin. Scout also demonstrates her courage by attending the Tom Robinson trial. Scout is aware that the majority of Maycomb's community opposes her father's decision to defend Tom but she still attends the trial with her brother and Dill. During the trial, Scout witnesses the prosecuting lawyer argue against Atticus's case and does not get offended when Mr. Gilmer attempts to discredit her father. She also witnesses the traumatic verdict and once again demonstrates her courage by handling the tragic loss with maturity and composure.

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Author Harper Lee manages to mix a bit humor--both bawdy and surreal--into what is potentially a deadly situation on the night that the lynch mob arrives at the jail. With the men speaking in whispers so as not to awaken the man they plan to hang, Scout sees this "sickeningly comic aspect of an unfunny situation" turn more dangerous when one of the men try to manhandle Jem. It was Scout to the rescue.

I kicked the man swiftly. Barefooted, I was surprised to see him fall back in real pain. I intended to kick his shin, but aimed too high."  (Chapter 15)

This courageous act was followed by another when Scout unknowingly subdued the mob with her innocent small talk. She had previously shown small acts of courage when she faithfully joined Jem and Dill on most of their Boo Radley-related excursions. And Scout should be applauded for her patient silence on the day in which she joins the ladies of the missionary circle for tea.

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