To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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I Wanted You To See What Real Courage Is

On what page in To Kill a Mockingbird does Atticus tell Jem about courage? On the page Atticus says a specific quote to Jem, which is as follows: "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 anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."

Quick Answer

This quote is from the very end of chapter 11 of To Kill a Mockingbird. In the 1982 Warner Books paperback edition, this quote is located on page 115.


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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Page numbers will vary by edition, but as the other answer states, the quote can be found at the end of chapter 11.

The key point is that throughout the novel, Atticus is trying to teach his children a new definition of courage. Part of this is through his reticence to let them know he is a sharpshooter until he has no choice but to display his great skill by killing a rabid dog with one shot. He wants them to understand, however, that there is no courage in such a God-given talent. This is what he means when he says that he doesn't want his children to get the idea that "courage is a man with a gun in his hand."

With the quote in question, he also wants the children to know that beneath her mean and nasty facade, Mrs. Dubose is a woman of great courage because she fights off a morphine addiction before she dies. It doesn't change anything, as she still dies, but it matters to her to die free of her addiction. She displays courage in facing the pain of withdrawal even though she is "licked before . . . [she] begin[s]." Courage, in other words, is doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do, not because there is a reward or "win" at the end.

This connects to Atticus's courage in mounting a real defense of Tom Robinson even though he too "is licked" before he begins. Like Mrs. Dubose, he does the right thing, all the way through to the end.

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Madeleine Wells eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Although the page number will vary (depending on the publisher and year of publication), we can be sure that the quote originates from chapter 11 of To Kill a Mockingbird. If you are looking for the quote in the book, it is located at the very end of chapter 11. The edition I am referring to is the 1982 paperback edition, published by Warner Books. It has 284 pages, and the quote in question is on page 115.

The quote is certainly a very important one. In...

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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miguelserrato98 | Student

In my book it's on the very last page of chapter 11 "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."

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hottiesaywhat | Student

In My Book, With the 1960's copyright, its on page 112

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