Wednesdays with Words: Real Courage

“She was [a lady]. She had her own views about things, a lot different from ine, maybe … son I told you that if you hadn’t lost your head I’d have made you go read to her. I wanted you to see something about her–I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose wone, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.”
Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird 

I finished this chapter a bit ago. It is, perhaps, the most moving chapters I’ve read in any literature in several years. I have to admit that I wondered about it as a parent, though.

In general, I give all of the information up front as to the whats and whys and wherefores, but Atticus left it to the end. He explained after the work, the service, the companionship was done.  He expected it to be completed, it was, and then he gave the explanation finishing with the lesson above.

I wonder if that makes the lesson more real.

Thinking, thinking still.



  1. I love TKAM, but it has been so long since I read it. Thanks for reminding me how admirable Atticus Finch is…

  2. I love this book! I love Scout's opinion of school! It made me laugh. Have you seen the movie with Gregory Peck? It's excellent too.

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