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Can you please tell me what this quote means "The bravest of individuals is one...

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sohail718 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 11, 2008 at 12:26 AM via web

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Can you please tell me what this quote means "The bravest of individuals is one who obeys his or her conscience"?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 11, 2008 at 1:30 AM (Answer #1)

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Sometimes it is very difficult to do what you feel is right in spite of what the rest of the world is doing. The rest of the world, or your group, may mock you, and criticize your beliefs, so it can take real bravery to stand up to the crowd. This is what the quote means. Literature is full of characters who were forced to stand up for their own beliefs and obey their consciences instead of following the crowd. John Proctor in "The Crucible", Atticus in "To Kill a Mockingbird", Hester, in "The Scarlet Letter", Antigone in "Antigone", John in "Brave New World" and Montag in "Fahrenheit 451" are just a few literary characters who are brave individuals who follow their conscience and deal with the consequences of that decision.

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sorkness | Elementary School Teacher | eNoter

Posted November 11, 2008 at 1:26 AM (Answer #2)

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One's own conscience can often go against the flow of public opinion, action, or what is considered acceptable. If you follow your own conscience rather than that of the majority, you will be alone many times. This means you will have to defend yourself and your actions, possibly at the outrage or contempt of others. However, not swaying from what you truly believe to be right, despite the attacks or pressure from others is what defines you as truly brave.

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mommygill | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 11, 2008 at 4:28 AM (Answer #3)

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It means that it takes a great deal of courage to do what your conscience tells you to do rather than following the crowd. Your conscience tells you what is right and what is wrong, and sometimes following through with what is right comes with the possibility of having to stand up to others, even your friends, by refusing to do the wrong thing, often the more popular thing. That takes a great deal of bravery. 

Refer to Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" for a more poetic answer. 

Good luck with your assignment!

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