Trevor Through the character of Atticus, Harper Lee

Trevor Moeck                                        Mr.TreckerHSE2-37 December 2017Physical and Moral Courage EssayCourage has proven to get people through the worst of times, especially during times like the Great Depression. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, is set in the fictional Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930’s. Racism is prevalent in the South at this time. The main characters in To Kill a Mockingbird are, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, Atticus Finch and Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch.  Scout and Jem’s father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer who agrees to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, who is accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell, in her house. Through the character of Atticus, Harper Lee illustrates the idea that people need physical and moral courage to stand up for what is right even when many people disagree. Atticus shows physical courage when he grabbed a gun and shot the dog Tim Johnson and when he was outside of the jail protecting Tom Robinson when men came to kill him. In the novel Atticus displays physical courage in the following quote, “In a fog, Jem and I watched our father take the gun and walk out into the middle of the street. He walked quickly, but I thought he moved like an underwater swimmer; Time had slowed to a nauseating crawl”(Lee 109). Atticus shows physical courage by taking the gun and walking out in the middle of the street, and shooting the rabid dog. He is standing up for what he knows he has to do and the author illustrates that what he did was right. This is important because it shows how Atticus knew what was right and he knew what he had to do. In addition, Atticus shows great physical courage outside of the jail when he faces and talks to 12 men who want to take Tom Robinson outside of the jail to lynch him. While Atticus sits alone outside of the jail, “In ones and twos, men got out of the cars. Shadows became substance as light revealed solid shapes moving toward  the jail door. Atticus remained where he was”(Lee 171). Atticus knows why the men are at the jail and stays there because he wants to protect Tom Robinson from the men, this demonstrates physical courage. Since he knew what was right he stayed at the jail. This quote is important because Atticus could’ve just left the jail but he decided to stay. Atticus shows physical courage by shooting a rabid dog to protect his children and neighbors. he also shows physical courage when he faces the men who came to the Maycomb jail to take and lynch Tom Robinson.     In the novel, Atticus Finch shows an example of moral courage when he “sighed, I’m simply defending a Negro-his name’s Tom Robinson”(Lee 86). This evidence supports the topic sentence because when Atticus accepts the case he demonstrates moral courage in the novel. It supports the thesis because by taking the case he is standing up for what he knows is right. The quote is important because it shows that Atticus Finch is willing to defend a black man in his racist community when other people wouldn’t defend him. Then Atticus shows moral courage when he talks to his kids about Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose. Atticus displays moral courage when he tells his kids, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, 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”(Lee 128). The evidence supports the topic sentence because he explains what courage is to his kids and by doing this he shows moral courage. It supports the thesis because the author illustrates an example of moral courage through the character of Atticus. This is very important because he is a very good man who shows many examples of physical and moral courage and he also explains what true courage is to his kids. Atticus shows many examples of moral courage such as taking the case to defend Tom Robinson and explaining to his kids what courage is.For one shall stand up for what is honorable, and one shall not follow the wrongdoing of other people but stand up for what is right. Atticus chooses to do many right things, such as shooting the dog and accepting Tom Robinson’s case. These are examples of Atticus Finch showing physical and moral courage. Atticus Finch, a very good man, chooses to do many difficult things even though he doesn’t have to do them. Harper Lee shows how Atticus demonstrates both physical and moral courage throughout the book. Atticus’s actions show that he’s a man with integrity and inner strength.

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