"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun (124). The Heinemann Australian File Dictionary 2 edition gives the meaning of courage as the ability to control fear when facing danger, pain or the unknown. Controlling or overcoming fear is such a difficult task that some might go to the extant to say that it is the hardest thing someone might have to face in life. Courage is shown within the characters of To Kill A Mockingbird in several situations. The characters are challenged to face danger or pain without fear. The courage they display gives them strength and deepens their self-understanding as the novel progresses.
Courage is not a man with a gun because a man with the gun does not show any courage but instead shows power. Real courage is displayed within the life of Mrs. Dubose. She was a sick old woman, waiting for death. However, she had one more goal to achieve before her life came to an end. She wished to free herself of morphine addiction. Mrs. Dubose displayed courage in a situation where most people would surrender to the drug. No one was aware that the drug caused her ˜mean spells' because she chose not to burden anyone with her problems. Mrs. Dubose did not fear death, but challenged death through her perseverance to leave this world free of addiction. It was only after Mrs. Dubose's passing did the people she affected become aware of her courage. She surprised those around her, who found it far to easy to pass her off as a sick, old lady. She remained strong in spirit and belief. I believe that this is the highest level of courage and heroism a person can face in life.
A significant representation of courage is seen within Atticus. Within To Kill A Mockingbird Atticus speaks of the Tom Robinson's trial as a trial all lawyers fear. He must face a court case that will have a profound personal effect upon himself and his family.