Who are the 3 most courageous characters in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Take your pick of characters.  The novel is loaded with courageous characters.  What's important about this type of question is that you explain a little bit about why you picked each character.  

For sure I would pick Atticus.  He is fully aware of the controversy that he is taking on when he is offered the Tom Robinson case.  He could have said "no" to the case too.  But he doesn't turn down the case.  He accepts it despite knowing that some of his friends will despise him for it.  That's courageous.  

"If you shouldn't be defendin' him, then why are you doin' it?"

"For a number of reasons," said Atticus. "The main one is, if I didn't I couldn't hold up my head in town, I couldn't represent this county in the legislature, I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do something again…Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one's mine, I guess."

I like to think of Tom Robinson as a courageous character.  He's smart enough to know that Atticus can't win the court case.  He knows the simplest and easiest way out of the entire situation is to confess a lie and hope for a lighter sentence.  He doesn't do that though.  He stands firm in his convictions and tells the truth through the entire trial.  

My third choice would be Jem.  He shows courage throughout the book, but two instances really stick out in my mind.  The first is in chapter one.  Dill bets Jem that he can't touch the Radley house.  Jem is terrified of that house, because of all the stories, but he does overcome his fear and touch the house. The other part that sticks out to me about Jem's courage is when he stands up with his father against the mob.  He defies his father and is willing to stand and fight against a large number of people. 

“Go home, I said.”

Jem shook his head. As Atticus’s fists went to his hips, so did Jem’s, and as they faced each other I could see little resemblance between them: Jem’s soft brown hair and eyes, his oval face and snug-fitting ears were our mother’s, contrasting oddly with Atticus’s graying black hair and square-cut features, but they were somehow alike. Mutual defiance made them alike.

“Son, I said go home.”

Jem shook his head.