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"Scout, a Courage Crammed Volcano" - Essay on Courage in novel To Kill A Mockingbird

bdaroza 1 / -  
May 11, 2009   #1
Hi, I have been asked to write a 5 paragraph essay about the theme courage and how it plays a role in the novel TKAM. The topic is broad and must be narrowed down to a specific topic. You can choose courage in a particular event, character, etc.

I have chosen to do mine on the unexpected acts of courage with Scout. Here is my intro, would you make any changes or comment on it please. Also if you feel there is a better topic please specify.

Scout, a Courage Crammed Volcano

What is natural courage? Is it the heroic act of rescuing a stunning princess form the treacherous hostility of a ferocious dragon? Or is it simply standing up in class, or calling out other kids? Scout, a six-year-old tomboy in the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (TKAM) by Harper Lee finds herself in turbulence at a young age as her father is involved with 'Maycomb's usual disease' (Pg. 100). Throughout the novel she is harassed by the words 'nigger-lover' (Pg. 94,95,96,98) and manages to stumble through it with natural, unexpected acts of courage. Scout is brought forth to act courageous in three instances each of which involves either, injustice, loss of pride, curiosity comparing to the three ways volcanoes erupt, hotspots, cracks in lithosphere, and converging of plate boundaries. Much like a volcano, Scout without anticipation or prediction suddenly erupts spewing courage naturally when provoked in three ways.

What prompted Rosa Parks to standup for African-Americans, what prompts us to standup to bullies and injustice throughout our daily lives? This mystery solved to be injustice is the hotspot that causes the sudden eruptions of Scout's courage. In TKAM Scout's hotspot appears and builds as Walter is called out by Miss Caroline. 'Walter Cunningham's face told everybody in the first grade he had hookworms' (Pg. 21). Scout's Mt. Krakatoa suddenly erupts spewing out in defense, "You're shamin' him, Miss Caroline. Walter hasn't got a quarter at home to bring you, and you can't use any stove wood" (Pg. 24). Scout driven by the building up of a hotspot filled with injustice rather than magma shows sudden courage when defending Walter.

Another prominent force behind the abrupt explosiveness of volcanoes is the cracks found in the lithosphere. Scout bursts with courage when her pride is being pulled apart with harassment resembling the pulling apart of plate boundaries. Scout has her pride torn apart when Cecil Jacobs takes a stab at the Finch family, 'He announced in the schoolyard the day before the Scout's daddy defended niggers" (Pg. 85). She suddenly explodes with courage rather than dropping the gloves as her plates diverge and she maintains courage while following Atticus' advice to 'hold your head high and keep those fists down' (Pg. 87). Scout shows courage like a rift volcano as her pride is split apart like plate boundaries and without notice erupts.

Curiosity is much like swine flu, its spreads rapidly and infects many especially children, however some children get the courage to listen to their curiosity. Scout finds herself filled to the brim with curiosity about going to peep at Boo on with Jem and Dill. For the Radely place 'drew as moon draws water' (Pg. 9). Scout's courage and curiosity collide like two tectonic plates and unexpectedly erupt as she 'had no choice but to join them' (Pg. 58). The curiosity and courage of Scout each act as plates converging together to form a composite volcano.

Real courage is when you persist knowing you've already been licked but continue no matter what. Volcanoes are naturally occurring openings in Earth's crust that eject magma, gas, and rocks. Combine these and you have Scout's unpredictable, real, natural courage ready to explode and kick in at any moment. Scout's courage strikes like a volcano as it erupts with three distinct provocations, injustice, loss of pride, and curiosity comparing to the hotspots, cracks, and convergences of volcanoes.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
May 11, 2009   #2
Well, it is good that you are trying to use metaphors in your writing. You might want to provide a clear, literal definition of courage after your rhetorical questions, though. Atticus says "Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." How does that definition seem to you? What other definitions might you use? How do the overlap, if at all? Once you have clearly explained what courage is, then you will be in a much better position to explain how Scout shows it.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
May 12, 2009   #3
I think you should reverse the order of two sentences in the first paragraph:

...unexpected acts of courage. Much like a volcano, Scout suddenly erupts spewing courage naturally when provoked -- without anticipation or prediction. Scout is brought forth to act courageous in three instances: each of which involves either, injustice, loss of pride, curiosity. These can be compared to the three ways volcanoes erupt: hotspots, cracks in lithosphere, and converging of plate boundaries.

Great thesis statement! Here is one more idea:

Real courage is when you persist with heartfelt passion; knowing you've already been licked, you continue based on principle.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
May 12, 2009   #4
Curiosity is much like swine flu,

Lol! This is hilarious. You mean it starts in Mexico, causes panic in North America, apparently has a high mortality rate, then turns out to be no worse than the regular flu? I know you go on to explain the particular qualities you have in mind, but you really can't use this metaphor unless you have a negative view of curiosity, which doesn't seem to be the case. Nice try, though.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
May 13, 2009   #5
Really? I wonder if the prof might appreciate it more than you do! It is so current...well... no, it is true that the metaphor makes curiosity seem bad. Well, it is bad! It kills cats, etc.

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