Study Guide

Joseph Andrews Courage

By Henry Fielding

Courage

You can talk a big game, but it all comes down to whether or not you'll face up to danger when it comes. In Joseph Andrews, that's the message Parson Adams tries to pass on to Joseph—and just about anyone who'll listen. Adams's conversation with the hunter shows that courage is hard to come by, especially when scary situations call for immediate action. The hunter skedaddles seconds after hearing Fanny yell, while Adams heads straight towards the screams. Who's got the courage this time?

Courage is often called for in startling situations. Joseph might not consider himself the bravest guy, but he jumps to defend Fanny no matter what. Adams gets a lot of his courage from his trusty crabstick, but let's face it: his fists could cause even the bravest warrior to tremble.

Questions About Courage

  1. How does Adams define courage?
  2. When does Joseph begin to develop courage? Is part of Joseph's education about courage?
  3. Is having courage always beneficial, or does it get certain characters in trouble?

Chew on This

Adams's courage is rooted in his inability to fully comprehend danger. He's like the original Braveheart.

Joseph's entire journey requires the kind of courage that can't be backed up by fists. In other words, he's brave to attempt new things.

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