In To Kill a Mockingbird what are three examples of bravery or cowardice?

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An example of cowardice in the book is when the children were afraid of Boo Radley.  They were teasing each other and daring each other to go in the Radley yard or try to touch the house.  Scout in particular was very afraid.  For Jem it was a kind of game, but he was still frightened.  Dill was fascinated.  He just wanted to make Boo Radley come out, because he empathized with him and thought he might be lonely.

Dill is able to convince Jem and Scout to go into the Radley yard.  It took Jem three days to get up the nerve.

I suppose he loved honor more than his head, for Dill wore him down easily: “You’re scared,” Dill said, the first day. “Ain’t scared, just respectful,” Jem said. The next day Dill said, “You’re too scared even to put your big toe in the front yard.” Jem said he reckoned he wasn’t, he’d passed the Radley Place every school day of his life. (Ch. 1) 

The children overcome their fear of Boo and even become friends with him.  He begins to leave them little trinkets in a tree, returns Jem’s pants, and puts a blanket over Scout’s shoulders at the fire.  While the children are afraid of Boo, in a way Boo is also afraid.  He is afraid to leave his house, because he is shy and reclusive.  The children help encourage him to come out. 

Another example of a quote about bravery occurs when Atticus discusses Mrs. Dubose.  He is describing a courage to meet life on your own terms.  Mrs. Dubose had the strength to conquer her addiction. 

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. (Ch. 11) 

This sort of moral courage is different than shooting a gun.  Atticus is brave when he faces down the mad dog and shoots it, but he is also brave because he is defending Tom Robinson.  When a mob of men show up to lynch his client, Atticus does not back down. 

When the mob tells Atticus that they have diverted the sheriff and he won’t be there to help, Atticus is still not afraid.  He stands his ground against the mob. 

“Called ‘em off on a snipe hunt,” was the succinct answer. “Didn’t you think a’that, Mr. Finch?”

“Thought about it, but didn’t believe it. Well then,” my father’s voice was still the same, “that changes things, doesn’t it?”

“It do,” another deep voice said. Its owner was a shadow.

“Do you really think so?” (Ch. 15) 

Scout is also brave when she goes out into the mob to talk to Walter Cunnhingham.  Atticus tells her that a mob is made up of people, and she reminded Water that he was human.  Scout stood up to him because she had Atticus’s example.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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