I. Welcome to Monroeville, Alabama and also the 50th annual “Mockingbird Conference” for the book, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
a. Now imagine, during the 1930’s, that you were part of the trial of Tom Robinson vs. the Ewells.
b. At that time, which side would you have believed? The side of the Ewells (because they were white people, or out of fear) or would you side with Tom Robinson (because you knew that he was innocent and ignored that fact that he was colored)?
c. Honestly, if you chose to side with the innocent Tom Robinson, you would have not just been correct, but also brave and courageous.
d. When reading the novel, I believed that it’s theme dealt with courage and bravery.
e. According to the way Harper Lee wrote her book, she also thinks that courage and bravery were also a very important theme of the novel. To prove this, I will show evidence from the book like: when Scout and Jem stood up to the lynching mob, when Atticus decided to stand up against the side of the whites because he knew Tom was innocent, and also when Mrs. Dubose stopped her drug addiction. II. a. One of the reasons why bravery was a main part of the book was because of the example when Scout and Jem stopped the mob from getting Tom Robinson, and possibly Atticus.
b. “I thought he [Atticus] would have a fine surprise, but his face killed my joy. A flash of plain fear was going out of this eyes, but returned when Dill and Jem wriggled into the light” (Lee 203).
c. What Lee was trying to say was that even Atticus was fearful of Scout, Jem, and Dill appearing in front of the drunk men because the children could have been harmed. However, the children ignored that fact and decided to help Atticus because she knew something bad was going on.
d. “Mr. Cunningham displayed no interest in his son, so I tackled his entailment once more in a last-ditch effort to make him feel at home. ‘Entailments are bad,’ I was advising him, when I slowly awoke to the fact that I was addressing the entire aggregation. Entailments seemed all right enough for livingroom talk” (Lee 205,206).
e. This quote basically brings up the fact that Jean Louise tried to talk to the drunk Mr. Cunningham. She tried to put herself in his shoes so that he could be calmer and less threatening. With this type of situation, she needed that emotional strength of courage and bravery.
f. Scout and Jem were really good examples of how bravery was shown in the book, now we will be talking about how Atticus shared a part in the theme. III. a. Atticus shared a major role in showing how bravery and courage was a big part of the novel, especially when he decided and discussed to Scout about why he will represent Tom Robinson during the trial.
b. For example, at page 111, Atticus said, “every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. This one’s mine… You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down” (Lee 111).
c. Atticus is willing to stand up for a colored person and let his family become a laughing stock because he know standing up for Tom Robinson was the right thing to do.
d. “… if I didn’t [defend Tom Robinson] 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” (Lee 100).
e. Again, this quote focuses on the point of Atticus defending the side of a colored person. He has the courage to see the larger picture of how this case will impact the society. He also realized that this case depended on his life, and he couldn’t be a good lawyer or father because the choices of if he was going to defend Tom or not reflected on his choices of how to become a good lawyer and father by following what’s right.
f. Atticus became known to the readers as probably one of the characters who gave the hugest impact on the rising and climax of the story. Last, but not least, Mrs. Dubose was also a fairly good character that reflected the characteristics of courage in the book. IV. a. Mrs. Dubose was a good example of how courage was shown in the novel.
b. “‘Mrs. Dubose was a morphine addict… she said she was going to leave this world beholden to nothing an nobody. Jem, when you’re sick as she was, it’s all right to take anything to make it easier, but it wasn’t all right for her. She said she meant to break herself of it before she died, and that’s what she did'” (Lee 147, 148).
c. Mrs. Dubose was such a brave person in Atticus’s eyes because of her determination of quitting her addiction. Even today, many are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and have the intention of quitting, but they do not put their plans into action, ending up even more addicted than ever.
d. “‘You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her'” (Lee 148). e. Another thing was that Mrs. Dubose could have carried on taking the morphine because she was going to end up dying anyways, however, she did not want to be a slave of anyone, so she made it her own goal to quit before she died, so that she could be “clean of any debts from this world”.
f. In summary, Mrs. Dubose, although mean and nasty in the children’s point of views, was a main point of how bravery was shown throughout the whole novel. V. a. To Harper Lee (and I), courage and bravery is the main point of the book. To show evidence, the three examples of when Scout and Jem stood up to the lynching mob, when Atticus decided to defend Tom, and when Mrs. Dubose stopped her morphine addiction were explained.
b. To summarize, Scout and Jem were one of the main characters that showed and backed up why bravery and courage was an important them for the novel.
c. Additionally, Atticus was also a major, outstanding character that showed his bravery and courage by defending Tom, a colored person, which is very rarely done, if not ever.
d. Finally, we have Mrs. Dubose. Although, she was not very friendly and kind, she had the determination of trying to leave the morphine addiction of hers, something that is life-challenging to a person who has a, let’s say, drug or alcoholic addiction.
e. Overall, as proved, bravery and courage were major points that stood out from other themes. This theme showed that anybody can do anything, no matter how large the obstacle is and that the bravery acted out by the characters made drastic impact on how the story would go and end up.
Courtney from Study Moose
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