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In a constantly changing world, the word ‘courage’ is always in conversation. I personally, don’t have courage in the areas I wish I had, whereas others do. I see others succeeding because of their big brave decisions and yet what good change is happening in the world? None! The human condition is used to fear and doubt, and the definition of courage has become twisted. Issues such as Global warming have become worse because people are afraid of society’s backlash.

Courage now should be described as ‘standing for your beliefs DESPITE the consequences of society’ in order for a better, peaceful world.

It’s a personal journey about what’s right and wrong for humanity despite the world not agreeing.

When it comes to social change regarding difficult issues such as religion and impending acts of government, people keep to themselves, afraid of backlash. We may parade around calling ourselves good people because we’re promoted ‘anti-bullying’ and we say ‘no to racism’. But when it comes to actually getting involved and making a difference in where we stand, we’re awfully quiet about it. You see the impact of the world around us and don’t speak up unless it impacts YOU.

Elements and examples shown within the two texts; ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘The Help’, display the act of courage within society by going against the world’s opinions. This includes the contexts of human rights and racism in the 1930s and ’60s. Though both are based in a time of heavy racism, the key themes of courage should definitely be carried out in today’s world.

The Help is a movie based on the book of the same name, written by Kathryn Stockett. It’s a story about the black maids in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s. It’s about their relationships with their white employers and each other’s, and how one woman- Eugenia Phelan, (known as Skeeter) – helps the maids tell their stories.

After making a courageous movement against racism, society spoke out and Skeeter lost her boyfriend- this was important because society at that time seemed to be very focused on women having husbands and starting families purely for the sake of it- not so much out of love. See any connections? It‘s really unfair when you receive consequences despite doing something right. It shows our personal journey to withstand these consequences and to do what is morally correct, not societally correct.

The two actresses who played ‘Aibeleen’ and ‘Minny’ comment on this, talking about what they themselves have learned from playing these characters;

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“Aibileen has a whole lot more courage than I do,’ said Davis. ‘I learned about real courage — to live on after the loss of a child, to start her life anew … the ability, even in her grief, to love so unconditionally.’

“People need to look beyond the fact that this takes place in the civil rights era,’ Spencer said. ‘It is about finding the courage to make a change in your life.’

Growing up, our society teaches us that those who have courage are willing to fight, and always put on a brave face.

In ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, author Harper Lee portrays courage as the continuation of fighting for your beliefs despite the knowledge that you may lose. Not everyone agrees with what you have to say! Lee Harper gives us the perfect example of courage through the characters’ actions.

We aren’t being courageous for ourselves, it’s speaking up for those who don’t have a voice. Atticus goes against society by defending Tom Robinson. who is a black man. Doesn’t seem like a big deal does it?

Well, the whole court system was biased; the judge being white as well as the jury. In the end (spoilers!), Tom Robinson dies because of the misjudgment of a white police officer. However, even though Atticus lost this court case, it was his ideals that spread throughout the community. Atticus goes to court to defend Tom Robinson even though he knows that the entire town (including his own family) would judge him harshly for it. It was the fact that he gave a black man a voice in a white society, and he was heard. You may not be a lawyer, or you might be! Either way, you can still make a change in the community, it just starts with a voice. And it is your job to be that voice.

Courage takes a lot of courage (funny that!). But it’s that courage to speak out about issues that make the whole difference. It doesn’t have to be a huge action like Atticus or writing a book like Skeeter. Though Scout is still only in the early stages of primary school, she is a huge example of courage. We see in Chapter 31 (page 282), she throws away all of the things she has been told about Boo Radley her entire life and walks him to his front porch. She walks past several houses in her town, her arm visibly linked with his to make a statement. It isn’t considered ‘in-your-face’ but it’s enough to show true courage.

She shows us that you can have true courage no matter age, or race- no excuses! Kindness towards others and doing what is right despite what everyone else is telling you shows the real strength that you have, and we should teach everyone to be like this.

It shows that even though, despite those around you, you can still take the initiative to be courageous. Aibileen struggled with how much courage she would need to do what Skeeter had asked her to do. She knew from her experience, she would need to do what she had to, despite backlash from society. Though it was a different time, society’s prejudice is still just as relevant. The decade of the 1906’s may be in the past, but the cause is not- we still need courage.

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