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Atticus wanted the children to understand that courage has to do with the fight for one's personal goals, no matter what the odds are against achieving the goal. Heroism consists of the fight itself, the struggle against fate, circumstance, or any other overpowering force. Rather than paying attention to Mrs. Dubose's insecurities, Atticus would complement her both on her appearance and her lovely rose garden. Atticus was able to see through her pain and address the person inside. Although she might insult Atticus behind his back, she would gush at hearing his complements to her.