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The One Harper Lee Quote I’ll Never Forget

As I’m sure you all know by now, Harper Lee passed away on February 19. She was 89.

I’ve always been a huge Harper Lee fan, and To Kill A Mockingbird still stands as my second favorite book to this point on the Time list. The book is genius.

After finding out about her death, I was reading through some quotes from the novel. It’s incredible how many memorable lines fill the pages of TKAM. So, so many great quotes.

But one, more than any other, stood out to me. It’s this: 

“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”

That’s a quote from Scout, talking about her father, Atticus Finch.

I could dive into that quote from many different angles. On the surface, the quote might appear political–and maybe it is to some extent.

But I love that quote because of its paradoxical nature. How can a man who hates gun and hasn’t fought in a war be brave? That’s so weak, so lame. Our notion of bravery involves bullets and battlegrounds. It involves The Rock fighting the bad guy and throwing him out the third floor window.

But bravery certainly isn’t some liberal southern lawyer with “misguided” moral values that go against the status quo. Or is it?

I think Harper Lee is saying that real bravery is being true to your principles, no matter what. No matter whether the whole town thinks you’re a misguided idiot fighting a losing cause.

Atticus Finch hated guns and had never been to any wars. But, most importantly, he stayed true to his beliefs, even under intense opposition from a band of racist townfolk and tyrants. In the literary world, the man is legend.

Be brave like Atticus.

And, thank you, Harper Lee. God bless you.

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16 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    “To Kill A Mockingbird”…I read it ages ago, but can still recall how powerfully the story impacted me. Such vividly drawn characters! As Robert says here: “Atticus Finch hated guns and had never been to any wars. But, most importantly, he stayed true to his beliefs, even under intense opposition from a band of racist townfolk and tyrants. In the literary world, the man is legend.
    Be brave like Atticus.” Yes, be brave!!! Now read on…

    Liked by 3 people

    February 24, 2016
  2. This is a great interpretation of this quote–Harper Lee did great work in this novel, also one of my favorites!!

    Liked by 1 person

    February 24, 2016
  3. Reblogged this on .

    Like

    February 24, 2016
  4. True

    Like

    February 24, 2016
  5. E #

    It’s the same as mine. It reminds of of my gran’s brother who was a conscientious objector in WWII, and drove an ambulance on the front line. He never raised a hand against anyone, he never raised in anger.
    He was the bravest man I know.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 24, 2016
  6. Mahender #

    Yes Mira. Buddha, Mahaveera, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela…and so many other great, nay the greatest of men, probably never touched a weapon, and yet they did the job that only the bravest like them could do. Such a pertinent quote from one of the greatest novelists of our times. Lee is and always remain an immortal soul!

    Liked by 1 person

    February 24, 2016
  7. I love this quote and I love TKAM. Great point and post!

    Like

    February 24, 2016
  8. Greg Streech #

    I can only see irony in this quote. It seems to me that Mrs. Lee lacked the courage to write/publish more than one book in her entire life. (She was forced to publish Watchman). If she really believed in or lived up to the ideals or principals of Atticus, I suspect she would have overcome her fears and exercised her God given talent rather than hiding it away for 55 years.

    Like

    February 25, 2016
  9. Atticus had integrity, and his children were blessed to have such a strong father-figure. So much of the appeal of the novel is the coming-of-age viewpoint from Scout and Jem as they awaken to what it means to be brave, honest, and true. We all learn from Atticus.

    Like

    February 25, 2016
  10. I’ve a hard time thinking of another character that inspires such moral awe in such an accessible way. A lesser author would have left Atticus feeling didactic. For more fun with literature (and daunting reading lists) check out aliteralinterpretation.wordpress.com. I think you’ll like it.

    Like

    February 26, 2016
  11. pratheek nappady #

    You said TKAM was your second favorite novel, would you mind telling what your first one is?

    Like

    February 19, 2017

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  1. The One Harper Lee Quote I’ll Never Forget – …
  2. A Round Up of Harper Lee Content | 101 Books
  3. The One Harper Lee Quote I’ll Never Forget | Justworthsharing

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