Commonplace 9: To Kill a Mockingbird

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.”

-Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird



Book cover for To Kill a Mockingbird

While I was not a huge fan of To Kill a Mockingbird when I read it, I did like this quote. In all honesty, I thought it would be the one thing I took away from that novel, and it was. This book is a registered classic, and there is a certain atmosphere that canonical books like To Kill a Mockingbird have. Perhaps it is the depth of analysis that is sufficient for the book. Canonical books are often classics, and should be respected and not over analyzed to the point where they are challenged. Looking deeper into this, Atticus Finch’s quote is extremely powerful, and what makes it especially powerful is that it its message is timeless. Real courage is not just simply holding up your rifle, but going into a situation that you are certain you will lose with the attitude of seeing it through and even possibly winning. That message is universal, and really stands true to the test of time. For as long as there are challenging situations to be fought against, this quote will hold true. The real life example of this quote that I happen to also love and be passionate about is the 1980 U.S. Winter Olympics “Miracle on Ice”. The Soviet National hockey team was undefeated, composed of all professional hockey players, and had the weapon of intimidation on their side. Their opponents in the final game was the United States, a team composed of amateur players, far from undefeated, and had nothing to give them an edge. The U.S. went into that game knowing that it was going to most likely be a slaughter fest, but still fought, and pulled the “miracle” that is still regarded as the best sports moment of all time. I happened to play in the very rink where the “Miracle on Ice” happened for a hockey tournament when I was younger, and I can still remember how somber it felt to look at that ice and skate on it. Quotes like this one and experiences like my own and the “Miracle on Ice” send shivers down my spine, as they do for many. There are few things like this in the world, and thus, make moments and quotes like these examples so special.

Works Cited

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York :Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. Print.

To Kill a Mockingbird.” Wikipedia, 23 Apr. 2017. Wikipedia,


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