Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, passed away on February 19th of this year. She was able to convey many important lessons and observations in under 300 pages. I first read To Kill a Mockingbird in ninth grade. I soaked in every word of Lee’s prose. I couldn’t wait to get to English class to discuss the story, the characters, and the themes of racial inequality and loss of innocence.
I re-read the book about six months ago. How different the experience of reading a book can be when you come to the pages with 41 years of life experience rather than 14 years. There are numerous takeaways in Lee’s novel, but one of my favorite lines is spoken by Atticus, the main character, as he defines courage for one of his children:
“Real courage is [. . .] when you know you’re licked before you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”
Rest in Peace Harper Lee. And thank you for having the courage to write such a profound novel that still resonates today. I hope that I have the courage to always pursue the good fight, even when I know I won’t win.