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To Kill a Mockingbird

            * Discuss the novel as a representation of moral courage.
             To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee that is set in 1930’s Alabama where colour prejudice was predominant. The underlining themes encompass issues around maturity, human dignity and prejudgement, but most of all courage. The definition of Courage is mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and to withstand danger, fear or difficulty. Moral courage is most apparent in Atticus, Mrs Dubose, Boo Radley and Miss Maudie. Throughout the novel, the actions and feelings these characters exhibit show the true meaning of moral courage.
             Miss Maudie succinctly defines the character of Atticus Finch when she calls him ‘civilised in his heart’. He stands for all that is best in Maycomb as a citizen, a father, a Christian and a southern gentleman. As a citizen Atticus is responsible and highly respected. He is elected unopposed to the state of legislature. Miss Maudie speaks for the community when she tells Aunt Alexandra. ‘Whether Maycomb knows it or not, we’re paying him the highest tribute we can pay a man. We trust him to do right’ His conduct and conversation throughout the book show that he is entirely free from the usual Maycomb faults of pride, racialism and hypocrisy. As a father Atticus stands in contrast to Mr Radley and Bob Ewell, both of whom ill-treat their offspring. Scout and Jem have perfect confidence in their father. He always tells them the truth, and they are secure in the knowledge that he loves them. Atticus is also a truly religious man, who puts into practise his Christian teaching on love, tolerance and forgiveness of others. As he tells Scout, ‘I do my best to love everybody’. He teaches his children not to bear grudges, and tries to find excuses even for his enemies. Instead of hating and despising Mayella for lying about Tom Robinson he feels sorry for her.