To Kill a Mocking Bird To Kill a Mockingbird is based in about 1935, right in the middle of the depression. It is placed in a small town in Alabama called Maycomb. Like most small southern towns, it has a problem with widespread racism toward African Americans.
The novel focuses on a family named the Finches. In the family there are three people, Scout, Jem and Atticus. Atticus is a lawyer and is defending a African American man by the name of Tom Robinson in court, something that was not often done in the south due to racism. Many people feel threatened by this and feel very resentful toward Atticus. Throughout the novel all the members of the Finches and many others display courage in their attempts to stand up for what they believe in. In the beginning of the novel we meet Jean Louise Finch, or Scout for short. Scout is an energetic little six year old.
She still has her innocence and has not yet been able to understand the concepts of racial discrimination or hate. Scout is confused by what some of her classmates have been saying about her father, Atticus Finch. Many of her classmates call Atticus a "nigger lover".
Being only six Scout does not know how to handle such situations so she solves her problems by fighting. On the day that Tom Robinson was moved to the Maycomb jail to await his trial, Atticus left the house to go and sit outside of the jail to watch over Tom to make sure that nothing happens to him. Scout, Jem and Dill followed him there to make sure that nothing happened to him. Suddenly several cars pulled up at the jail. A mob got out of the vehicles and demanded that Atticus step aside so that they could get at Tom. Frightened the children came running to Atticus' side and asked him if everything was okay. Atticus told them to go home, but they refused.
Suddenly, Scout saw a man that she knew, Mr. Cunningham. She said hi to him, twice before he acknowledged her. She began asking him questions about his entailments and talking about Walter, his son. At first he said nothing, Scout was afraid that she had done something wrong.
Then finally he said something, he said that he would tell Walter that she said hey. After that, they all left. By singling out Mr. Cunningham she turned to mob into individuals and thus making them more aware as to what they were doing. She made Mr. Cunningham realize that Atticus is a man, not a roadblock.
Scout showed that even a small girl was able to stop a mob of grown men from doing something that they might regret. Even though Scout was unaware of what she had done she was still the hero of the day and displayed lots of courage by standing up for her father. Scout's brother Jem also shows courage in the novel.
Jem is nine years old and is just beginning to show signs of maturing. Jem shows most of his courage by just believing that what his father was doing was the right thing to do. Jem continues to believe throughout the novel that Atticus will win because there was very little evidence to go against Tom, only the words of Mayella and Bob Ewell. This trust and somewhat naive belief that even a African American can get released from jail is shattered when Tom is sentenced. Jem does not understand how he could be guilty even when all the evidence was pointing towards Bob Ewell. The courage showed by Jem concerning this matter is very strong, partially due to his slight knowledge with the racism that is going on around him. This courage is based on what he has been told by Atticus.
Atticus displays the most courage by defending Tom Robinson in court. He knew that having a white man defend a black man in court was unacceptable. He knew that people would resent him for it and he also knew that he would most likely lose the case because a black.