What is courage and cowardice in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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This is a good question. We are fortunate, because the book defines courage for us. It is the commitment to do the right thing, even if you are going to lose. The person who personifies this type of courage is Atticus. He knows that his defending of Tom Robinson is not popular. He also knows that he is not going to win. However, he still commits to defending him with all of his heart. 

Cowardice, on the other hand, is to do wrong, especially if it hurts other people. For example, Bob Ewell is the biggest coward in the book. He is the one who beats his daughter and he blames it on Tom Robinson, an innocent man. Moreover, when he felt disgraced by Atticus in a court of law, he went after his children, to kill them. This is the height of cowardice. He actually goes after children! 

These two men are polar opposites. The former shows courage; the latter shows cowardice. 

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