Feb 5th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

A Lesson In Bravery

In Harper Lee’s novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Atticus, wise and generous man tells his son, Jem, about an old woman who is dying of cancer.

Her name is Mrs. Dubose.  She has been a bitter critic of Atticus for his insistence on equal rights for blacks in that small southern town.  So Jem hates the old woman for criticizing his father.  But Atticus wants his son to see the greatness in this cantankerous old woman.

For years she has taken morphine, at her doctor’s orders, to ease her pain;  eventually she became a morphine addict.  As it became clear that her days were numbered, she was determined to end her addiction before she died so that she would die beholden to nothing, to nobody.

Jem reads to her and watches her day by day as she endures the pain of not taking morphine.  After her death, Atticus says to Jem:  ‘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.  Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her.  According to her view, she died beholden to nothing and nobody.  She was the bravest person I ever knew.’


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