To Kill A Mockingbird: Tom Robinson’s Exhibitions Of Courage

In the past 100 years, American society has become more tolerant and less prejudiced. The U.S. hasn’t yet achieved a total racial transformation in which the laws of reason and trial are applied to everyday events. There are still many racists, stereotypes, and prejudices. True courage comes from those who are able to endure the harsh racism of our society. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is full of courage. The novel is about the struggles of racism in the United States in the 1930s, as seen through the eyes of Scout Finch. Her father defends a black man from false accusations of raping white women in a town that still practices racism and segregation. Tom Robinson would be unable to show any external courage without his internal courage. Tom Robinson’s courage is an inspiration to Scout, Atticus Finch and all of Maycomb County. Tom Robinson is the character who displays the greatest internal and outer courage in the novel. This is because he has to face one of most brutal legal and personal accusations. Tom Robinson is the only character in Maycomb County who can remain calm while expressing courage verbally and maintaining his honesty. He does this by dealing with rape allegations along with law enforcement officials, the accuser’s father, and everyone else with prejudice in Maycomb County. Tom Robinson demonstrates verbal persistence in his trial despite the uncomfortable circumstances. He knows that the jurors are watching him carefully and is well aware that his chances of being cleared are low. In order to prove that his side is the truth, he has to contradict what the accuser said previously, almost completely. Mayella ewell, the accuser of Tom Robinson, claimed in court that Tom Robinson had lied to her about the truth and taken advantage of her. Tom has realized that his truth may not have been worth sharing with the court. Even though the situation seems hopeless, Tom continues to stick to his convictions. “Scared that I would have to confront what I did ?… (Lee 265). Tom Robinson is brave for not giving in to the false accusations. He has integrity and uses honesty to his advantage, even as the public pressures mount. Tom Robinson demonstrates inner courage by being able to relate to another person, Mayella in this case. Tom Robinson was aware of the situation Mayella Ewell faced before the trial. She was a 19-year-old who had never left her home and was responsible for all household chores. She is a young woman with many siblings who are not well-behaved and do not help her out in the house. Mayella lacked attention, love, and friends. “No sir, not after I offered her a nickel for the first. I did it because Mr. Ewell was not helpful to her and I knew that she didn’t want to spend any nickels. Tom Robinson’s courage is evident in this case because he let his inner intentions be enveloped by integrity. Because he was well aware of Mayella’s situation, he never asked anything in return for his deeds. This acknowledgement opens the door to integral courage and the ability of doing the right thing. This mindset was maintained both during and before his trial in which he is accused falsely of rape. Tom Robinson demonstrated courage both before and during the rape allegations by speaking, assisting, and acknowledging a White woman within the confines her own house. Tom Robinson broke the segregational norms of society by helping Mayella do some chores. In addition, he endures the terror and discrimination that will soon be his life. “Yes, she would call me inside and ask me to break up a chiffarobe. She would tip me m’hat every time I passed by. Every time I went by, she would have something to ask me — like choppin’ kindlin or toting water for her. Tom Robinson showed his respect for Mayella by tipping the hat whenever he went past her. Tom Robinson showing courage in helping Mayella, a White woman, with household chores by his own kind and volition is because segregation prevents them from talking to each other. Tom’s entry into the Ewell home, and his conversation with the white woman is a sign of courage. Tom Robinson shows courage when segregation takes place. He risks judgment and shame by speaking out against a racist white woman who could easily lie about a black male. Tom Robinson shows a lot of courage both internally and externally, despite being wrongly accused in public. This is one of the most difficult situations anyone can endure. These courageous demonstrations by fictional characters are incorporated into society. It is only when society adapts to forms of bravery, like verbal, integral and societal, that it can improve itself. The modern culture will improve if the bravery of prominent people and society assimilates. In the process of eradicating stereotypes and racist attitudes, society can resemble Tom Robinson in a figurative sense.


  • rosewebb

    Rose Webb is an educational blogger and volunteer who also studies for a degree in law. She loves to write about her experiences and share her knowledge with others, and is passionate about helping others to achieve their goals.

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