Who is the Town Gossip in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’? Unmasking True Courage

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Updated: Aug 21, 2023
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Defying Addiction: Mrs. Dubose’s True Measure of Courage

In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, courage stands out a lot throughout the whole story, and as readers get to know the characters and the rest of the town. Although it might’ve hard to tell, Mrs. Dubose, Boo Radley, and Scout are the three characters in particular that don’t care about others’ opinions and carry on to do courageous acts. They are one of the many who show extreme acts of courage and allow us to see how courage has progressed through the story.

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The first character to show courage is Mrs. Dubose, an elderly woman who has had trouble with the children because she feels indifferent to them and their lifestyles. However, she still found it in herself to end her morphine addiction. Atticus explains how she is a model of real courage other than “…a man with a gun in his hand.” She knows the outcome will remain the same (Lee 149). Despite all of the terrible things she had said to the children, especially when she said bad things to Jem about Atticus, she was standing up for herself during a hard time in her own way. As Atticus states, “…the bravest person he ever knew.” (Lee 149) This was a courageous act since she was close to her death; she defeated her addiction to make sure that she ended on a good note; this is where her courage stood out the most.

Boo Radley: Unveiling the Courage Behind the Mystery

Although Mrs. Dubose may have had a rough history, she has found it in herself to be better and quit her morphine addiction before her death because of the fact that she wants to make sure she ends on a good note instead of dying knowing that she was still addicted. The second character that portrays the most courage is Boo Radley, a man who leaves his own home. Causing him to be a suspicious individual to the rest of the world. According to Scout, he’s a “…malevolent phantom” (Lee 10), Although Jem has never seen Boo in person. Scout states, “People said he existed, but Jem and I had never seen him.” People in Maycomb made up images and stories in their heads about him, making him up to be a monster. (Lee 10) Atticus explains to Scout and Jem that the reason why he lives like this is he has “had trouble with the law and fell into the wrong crowd.” Which made him give off the wrong impression to most people (Lee 12 ). Throughout the whole story, he shows countless acts of courage and has a huge impact on Scout and Jem. Even though he couldn’t escape his house, he still had a big impact on Scout and Jem. Firstly, one of the many acts of courage he does is to escape Nathan Radleys’ (his dad) observation and bitterness. As a result, he wanted to give gifts to the children by leaving them in the tree in which they climbed. Boo leaves Jem thinking that the reason why he’s doing all of this is simply because he is lonely, and Scout hears Boo crying.

Stephanie Crawford’s Character Traits: Unmasking the Silent Heroes in Scout’s Journey

Secondly, since Scout and Jem are so special to him, he saves them from Bob Ewell. There were tons of rumors going around about Boo Radley, which isn’t a surprise considering the town is full of racists, and all people do is gossip. Despite the fact that people see him as a monster, he looks past that and decides to act nothing but kind to them. Considering the fact that he is so shy, he doesn’t want to take recognition for the fact that he saved Scout and Jem, making him feel vulnerable and uncomfortable with the whole situation because he doesn’t really like confrontation. To summarize, he is a very nice and genuine person and will do anything for Scout and Jem, including putting his life before theirs.

The last character that shows courage throughout the whole story is Scout. Since she’s a caring and innocent child, you might think that she couldn’t have shown courage throughout the story. Although she’s a child, she seems to be the only one capable of shutting down the “mob” that was outside the county jail. “So it took an eight-year-old child to bring ‘em to their senses, didn’t it? That proves something that a gang of wild animals can be stopped simply because they’re still human.” (Lee 210) This gives the mob the reminder that there’s innocence in everyone. Since she’s a tomboy, Aunt Alexandra has a hard time coping with how she likes to dress. In her eyes, she feels that Scout needs a feminine influence. Scout is known to have a short temper, which leads her to settle arguments in a physical way, including an argument between her and a classmate. “Catching Walter Cunningham in the schoolyard gave me some pleasure, but when I was rubbing his nose in the dirt Jem came by and told me to stop”(Lee 30). Despite all the bad things Aunt Alexandra has said to change her, Scout is strong and has no problem with telling somebody they’re wrong, making her courageous in her own way. On the first day of school, Scout shows courage by being a leader to the class and standing up to Mrs. Caroline about Walter Cunningham. As Mrs. Caroline states, “Your father does not know how to teach. You can have a seat now.” Instead of making Scout feel proud, she puts her and Atticus (her father) down because she feels like Scout shouldn’t be reading at such a young age instead of making her feel proud (Lee 23. )As you might not have expected, Mrs. Dubose, Boo Radley, and Scout are the three silent heroes in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. As readers, we got to see how their courage and bravery grew and how much it impacted not only themselves but the ones around them.


  1. Lee, Harper. “To Kill a Mockingbird.” HarperCollins, 1960.
  2. Bloom, Harold. “Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.” Chelsea House Publishers, 2007.
  3. Johnson, Claudia Durst. “Understanding To Kill a Mockingbird: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historic Documents.” Greenwood Press, 1994.
  4. Erisman, Fred. “The Romantic Regionalism of Harper Lee.” Alabama Review, vol. 26, no. 2, 1973, pp. 122–136.
  5. Shields, Charles J. “Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee.” Holt Paperbacks, 2006.
  6. Petry, Alice. “On Harper Lee: Essays and Reflections.” University of Tennessee Press, 2007.
  7. Meyers, Michael. “Alienation in To Kill a Mockingbird.” Readings on To Kill a Mockingbird, edited by Terry O’Neill, Greenhaven Press, 2000, pp. 52-58.
  8. Mancini, Candice. “Racism in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.” Social Issues in Literature, 2008.
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Who is the Town Gossip in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'? Unmasking True Courage. (2023, Aug 21). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/who-is-the-town-gossip-in-to-kill-a-mockingbird-unmasking-true-courage/