What are some quotes on courage in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird? 

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 9, Scout asks her father if he defends "niggers." Atticus admits that he does and tells her that he wouldn't be able to hold his head up in town if he didn't. He tells her not to let people "get her goat," and to remain calm when provoked. Scout asks Atticus if they are going to win and he tells her "no." Scout wonders why he's going to continue with the case, and he says,

"Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win." (Lee 101)

Atticus understands that he is taking on a highly sensitive case that he will more than likely lose. Atticus knows that real courage is facing adversity head on, despite its challenges. He will remain courageous and display his integrity as a morally upright man by defending Tom Robinson in a prejudiced courtroom later on in the novel.

In Chapter 11, Atticus makes Jem read to Mrs. Dubose after Jem loses his temper and destroys her camellia bush. At the end of the chapter, Mrs. Dubose passes away. Atticus explains to his children that Mrs. Dubose was suffering from a chronic disease and was addicted to morphine. Mrs. Dubose knew she was going to die, but wanted to break her morphine addiction before she passed away. Jem's reading distracted her for increasingly longer periods of time in between her morphine doses until she was finally able to break her addiction. Atticus comments that she was the bravest person he ever met. He says,

"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." (Lee 149)

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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