How is Bravery Shown in To Kill a Mockingbird?

In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, the author uses word choice to convey that bravery is the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous and that allows us to find the the mental or moral strength to face our fears and make unthinkable choices. Throughout part one of the book, Atticus strives to teach his children the real meaning of bravery and courage.

One way the author demonstrates bravery through word choice is when Atticus is explaining to Scout that Mrs.Dubose had real courage and there is a difference between what people think courage is and what real courage actually is. On page 149 Atticus says,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. Atticus was trying to communicate to Scout that just because a man has a gun in his hand doesn’t mean he has courage even though he may portray the illusion that he has it just because there is an object in his hand that people may think he does from looking at him from the outside. Atticus was saying this because he wanted Jem to distinguish the difference between true courage and the outward appearance of courage or what people portray courage to be. This teaches Scout that you can’t assume people have courage just by looking at them, and that it takes strength from within to develop courageous behaviors and actions. The theme of having courage from within is relevant for people in society today because it teaches people that you have to do things you don’t like sometimes and step outside your comfort zone.

Another way the author shows bravery through word choice is when Scout wants to physically fight Cecil Jacobs for his derogatory remarks about her father defending black people. Atticus counsels Scout not to use her fists whenever she gets angry and instead use logic to defeat peoples petty comments because it will be more effective and takes more courage to do so. Not only does Atticus inform Scout not to fight with her fist but to fight with logic, he then goes on to tell her that just because you don’t win a fight doesn’t mean you should give up and put problems to the side. On page 101 Atticus says, Simply just because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win. Atticus says this because he wants Scout to acquire a knowledge of courage and that in order to have courage you must not give up and you should be compelled to want to face the obstacle even if it’s hard. Atticus also tells Scout this because he wants her to know that you shouldn’t give up your self respect and justice just because you think you won’t win a battle. This is a relevant issue in humanity today because many people give up and don’t face obstacles or struggles they have in life which causes them to lack courage and bravery not only for themselves but for others around them.

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