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The main theme in To Kill a Mockingbird is courage, while putting a huge impact on the book courage is shown efficiently throughout the book. The title of this book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and the basic plot of part 1 is to show the inequalities through the eyes of a young girl. The three characters I will bring to your attention is Jem, Dill, and Atticus. I choose these three because they drive the story and encounter the most courage as I will show and explain later.
For each character I have chosen I will give 1-3 examples on how they show and display courage. Most of the people in town are racists, Harper Lee uses characters actions to show that courage can be seen in the ugly and unlikely people.
The first character is Jem, Jem is a work in progress and represents bravery in the novel. Jem is the character that makes you wonder what he is going to do next.
He teaches us what it means to be human. Jem immediately has something in common with the reader as he sees and feels the unfairness that is often present in the world. Scout explains in beginning to Dill how Jem’s pride is so huge and how he has never backed out of a dare because of it. With that being said, it sure did come back around later during the chapter as they all get the knowledge on the Radleys house and know it’s not the best option to associate with or go near.
Since Jem pride was so high Dill and Scout took advantage and dared him to do something very unlikely which was touch the side of the Radleys house and run back. Jem knew how dangerous, scary, and nerve wrecking that would be but still didn’t have the interest in backing down. That dare didn’t faze the brave Jem he had courage to go on and touch the Radleys house. “’ Well go on, said Dill, Scout and me’s right behind you.’
‘I’m going, said Jem. don’t hurry me’ (16). This quote shows he isn’t only doing the dare but is having the courage to do something that is frightening. As the story progresses, Jem learns more about bravery and courage from no other Atticus.
The second character is Dill, Dill is very confident and different from all other kids in the neighborhood as each kid is frightened and fear Boo Radley and go nowhere near that house. As we know Boo doesn’t come out his house and keeps to himself. Dill is different instead he does all that he can to get Boo Radley to come out, he plans and comes up with different ideas that are risky but can possibly achieve the goal. First one daring and pressuring Jem to touch the side of the house “well go on, said Dill” (16). The second as they come up with the game “Boo Radley” on pg. 43. Finally, on pg. 58 as “Dill and Jem were simply going to peep on the window with the shutter to see if they could get a look at Boo Radley.” With all these different ideas and plans this is what makes him so courageous trying his hardest to make contact with Boo Radley.
The third character is Atticus, Atticus is one of the very few characters who never has to rethink his issues or position. Atticus is the adult character and is least infected by prejudice in the novel. Atticus is respected by everyone including the poor, which is why he is such a dominant character in the book and why he shows courage most consistent. Atticus shows some strong courage when realizing his people are afraid and frightened of rabid dog. He steps into the street ‘with movements so swift they seemed simultaneous, Atticus’s hand yanked a ball – tipped lever as he brought the gun to his shoulder. The rifle cracked’ (110). This shows courage because no one else wanted to take care of the dog because they were too afraid, he wasn’t and stepped up and got the job done. However, Atticus doesn’t consider a man with a gun courageous which I think makes him more humble, brave and courageous just by saying that. He also explains to Jem what he believes a man of courage is which he explains ‘it’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what” (128). Atticus not only shows courage but also teaches it in a way for a better understanding of others.
There are several ways to display and show courage through the likely and unlikely. As all 3 of the characters I chose show. Each character plays an efficient role in the book and shows courage each in unique ways. With Harper Lee having the theme be “courage” he put the nail in the coffin as he has every character show some type of courage throughout the book. In the novel it seems courage is only about winning, but really, it’s thinking about something and choosing to do what’s right, no matter the outcome. I will now continue to look out and see how courage continues to play a huge role in To Kill a Mockingbird.
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