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Courage Critical Lens

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"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear."- Mark Twain. Mark Twain's quote inspires the courage within all of us, uncovering an absent truth that anyone can have courage. The false definition of hope that floods our society is that only the openly, and exceedingly brave have courage, but can be proven untrue in the unforgettable childhood story of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Atticus Finch and Boo Radley are primary examples of what Mark Twain suggests are courageous individuals.

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch is a widowed father of two, and a town lawyer living in the small town of Macomb, a town inundated with racism. Atticus is asked to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, who has been accused of raping a young white girl. Not only will the proceedings test Atticus as a legal representative, but will trouble his personal life greatly. Atticus believes in equality, making him a minority in Macomb. His sense of morality and justice leads him to take the case. Atticus's chooses to defend the young man despite its burden on his family, showing immense courage by making this decision, Atticus stands against the majority defending a cause that is long lost. "Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do" spoken by Atticus Finch as he talks to his son on the topic of courage. Atticus's explanation of courage isn't only presented to the reader when Atticus explains courage to his children but is displayed in his action when he takes Robinson's case. Atticus realizes he is greatly disadvantaged in the case, but he continues defending Tom whether he knows he will win or not.

Atticus is presented with yet another chance to display his courage, as Heck Tate turns to him to shoot a loose rabid dog running through the neighborhood. Although he hasn't fired a gun in several years Atticus accepts the responsibility, knowing that if he misses even once it could hit something or someone. His action once again shows readers his courageousness furthermore as he is looked upon as a town leader in the community. Although Atticus shows his courage openly to society, Boo Radley displays his courage in a different manner.

Boo Radley hasn't been publicly seen since he was with his mother at a particularly young age. Boo is a mysterious character as he is barley seen and shelters himself from society. Rumors are circulating and have been for years leaving for the maturity of fanatical stories of Radley and his anti-socialistic life style. Readers aren't sure what to think of Boo as he is only mentioned in stories Atticus and peers tell the narrator. You begin to see Boo for who he is in his first act of courageousness which is displayed when he begins to reach out to Atticus's children,



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