Bravery Exceeds Brawny

Some may think that being brave means you have to be tall, big and muscular. To be brave you have to walk around like you are tough and can beat up anyone that gets in your way. However, bravery means a lot more than that. An old man could be brave by standing up for what he believes in. A young boy can be brave for not being shy. A young lady could be brave by acknowledging forbidden feelings. Bravery, that is not so evident, is shown in three different characters throughout the novel To Kill A Mockingbird.

Atticus shows bravery when he takes on Tom's case. Many things could have been harmed because of him taking it, including his reputation, his children, himself, and any of his friends. Scout asked Atticus if they will win the case. He bluntly replied with, "No, honey."(76) He knew that they would not win but he still wanted to try. What made Atticus even more brave is that he risked losing his friends. He said, "we're fighting our friends. But remember this no matter how bitter things get, they're still our friends and this is still our home."(76) Not a lot of people can stand up against their friends or the people they see everyday and still walk with pride. This furthermore shows how Atticus is a courageous character in To Kill A Mockinbird. Atticus also stood up to the Ewells. Everyone was scared of the Ewells but because of his bravery Atticus went against them. Atticus was shown to be a very brave character through his decision to take Tom's case.

Charles Baker Harris, or Dill as they called him, was in many small ways brave. Dill did not have a good family life. He moved from house to house and did not know his own father. However, this did not stop him from going out into Maycomb alone and making new friends. He was brave when he just walked up to Jem and Scout and boasted, "I'm Charles Baker Harris....I can read." (7) He was so proud of himself and was not afraid to show it. Dill is also short for his age but he was still brave enough to go out there and talk to some kids he had never met before. He does not let it bother him when Jem makes fun of his shortness. He simply replies with, "I'm little but I'm old." (7) Another thing that made Dill brave was all the crazy things he and Jem did at the Radley's place. It was his idea to try to put a note through the shutters. It was also partially his idea to peak inside of the Radley's house by going in the backyard. The kids were so terrified that Boo would get them that these actions did make Dill brave. Small details showed that Dill was another brave character in To Kill A Mockingbird.

One extraordinary brave character from To Kill A Mockingbird was Mayella Ewell. First of all she was brave for having feelings for a black man, during a time period when that was strictly forbidden. She was furthermore brave just for acknowledging those feelings. When she got up in front of the court, she showed bravery. She was raped by her dad and she had to sit there and remember it all. She had to then lie about it, so he would not beat her again. That is not something she probably took lightly. At the end of her testimony she yelled, "you're all yellow stinkin' cowards, stinkin cowards the lot of you. Your fancy airs don't come to nothin'- your ma'amin' and Miss Mayellerin' don't come to nothin', Mr. Finch." (188) Considering her family's social standing and the fact that she is a young woman yelling at a man, none the less a lawyer like Atticus; just screamed that she is brave. This was not a time period where women spoke out very often. Mayella may not have been the most morally correct character in this novel however, she did represent bravery well.

To Kill A Mockingbird has three different characters that subtly support the theme of bravery. An old man like Atticus is strong willed and does as he believes is right. A young boy like Dill may not be perfect but he does not let his insecurities turn him into a coward. A considered "trashy" young woman like Mayella takes an emotional risk and does not let intimidating rich men bring her down. Bravery is not the same thing as brawny. These three characters proved it.





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