The able to face one’s own fears,

The word “courage” has many definitions. Some people say that courage is being able to face one’s own fears, while others say that courage is a person with a strong heart. Harper Lee exhibits true courage as standing up for what one believes in even when it signifies imperilling something precious.
Throughout researching information about Harper Lee, I’ve learned a great number of things including who she is and how she got her commencement in literature. According to, Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama where she and her four older siblings grew up. Her dad was a lawyer, a member of the Alabama state legislature, and her mom suffered from a mental illness, so she seldomly left the house. While in Monroeville, she had become friends with a young boy who would end up being a writer as well, Truman Capote. Capote was often bullied in school, so Lee took it upon herself to protect him and become friends with him. As Lee grew older and moved on to high school, she also grew an interest in English literature. She then graduated college and went to an all-female college, Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Harper Lee did not follow the other girls and stuck to her studies and writing. She, thinking that it would be nice to follow her father’s footsteps, eventually went into studying law but realized that writing was her calling. She then went to Oxford University as an exchange student to study writing and came back the following year to study law again but dropped out of it in the first semester and went to New York City. While there, she was reunited with her childhood friend, Truman Capote and established a good friendship with Michael Martin Brown and his wife. It is stated by the Encyclopedia of Alabama, that the Browns gave Harper Lee an astounding Christmas gift of fortifying her for her writings and getting her an agent to get commenced. He got the publishing firm engrossed in her first novel first called Go Set a Watchman, and then the title ended up changing to Atticus, and then finally To Kill a Mockingbird. She then finished her manuscript in 1959. After her prosperity in To Kill a Mockingbird, she was working on a second novel, but unfortunately, it was turned down by a publisher in 1957, but later down the road on July 14, 2015 the second book, Go Set a Watchman would be published. Truman Capote was working on his novel, “In Cold Blood” and Lee aided him when writing, but when the book was completed, Lee and Capote’s friendship became tarnished. Harper Lee was hurt by his apostasy, but remained his friend until he died.
To Kill A Mockingbird is a novel that tends to the issues of race, class, sexual orientation and destruction of innocence. The title is emblematic to the plot of the novel. The title originates from a proverb that tells that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. (Literature and Theology, 436-457). The metaphor in this novel serves as an admonition for people to judge their own selves, instead of what is seen by the human eye. A mockingbird is considered to be innocuous. Therefore, it is used to symbolize innocence and the good and guiltless people who are harmless, but are harmed by others. Initially, Harper writes, “to kill a mockingbird is a sin”, and as the story moves on, there is no scene where a mockingbird was actually executed, but Tom Robinson, a blameless individual, was mercilessly struck down due to bigotry and prejudice.
I am a very picky reader and normally, it is hard for me to be able to find something that keeps me interested, but To Kill A Mockingbird is a book that I have read over and over. According to New York Times, the book has sold over 40 million copies since it was first published in 1960 and has been translated into over 40 languages. Though the book does have harsh descriptions about the time period, the book is a literature phenomenon and so many schools around the nation read this book. Part of the reason she wrote the book was because it was telling about her life back then when she was little and still trying to understand the world around her at the time. She eventually wrote about it and published it in 1960. Lee won various awards for To Kill a Mockingbird including Pulitzer Prize: the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1961, the Alabama Library Association Award also in 1961, Bestsellers Paperback of the Year Award in 1962, and additional designations such as a Literary Guild selection, a Reader’s Digest condensed book selection, and an alternate for the Book of the Month Club. (Books, 2012).
In Hanover County, Virginia in 1966, the school board was challenged to ban the book from their school claiming that the theme of rape was “immoral.” The school board countered back and rejected the claim, but local residents started to write letters in the local newspaper complaining about the school boards decision and after hearing to feedback, the school board made the decision to ban the book from all Hanover County schools. After the word of Hanover County banning To Kill A Mockingbird, many parents soon followed suit on notifying their own school boards about the “filthy” or “trashy” content as well as the racial slurs. (Little, 2017). When Lee caught wind of all the complaints she wrote, “Recently I have received echoes down this way of the Hanover County School Board’s activities, and what I’ve heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read.” She then wrote, “I feel, however, that the problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism. Therefore I enclose a small contribution to the Beadle Bumble Fund that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice.” (Devasher, 2015). Years later, the book is still banned in some schools, but others have chosen to allow the book back into their schools library.
Harper Lee lived a normal life in New York City after releasing To Kill A Mockingbird and endeavored to not attract any attention to her fame in her first and only novel. At the age of 89, on February 19, 2016, Harper Lee passed away. President Obama and the First Lady said in a statement that Lee “changed America for the better. When Harper Lee sat down to write To Kill a Mockingbird, she wasn’t seeking awards or fame. She was a country girl who just wanted to tell an honest story about life as she saw it,” their statement said. “But what that one story did, more powerfully than one hundred speeches possibly could, was change the way we saw each other, and then the way we saw ourselves,” the statement added. “Through the uncorrupted eyes of a child, she showed us the beautiful complexity of our common humanity, and the importance of striving for justice in our own lives, our communities, and our country.” “Ms. Lee changed America for the better,” the President and First Lady said. “And there is no higher tribute we can offer her than to keep telling this timeless American story – to our students, to our neighbors, and to our children – and to constantly try, in our own lives, to finally see each other.” (Shapiro, 2016.)
Even though Harper Lee has been laid to rest, her courage continues to inspire others. For Ruth Roman Lynch she stated, “My grandfather and I were coming home once from the white side of the tracks,” says Lynch, 57, now a business consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. “We went into a restaurant and my grandfather asked if I could use the bathroom, and they said, ‘We don’t serve n***ers here.'” (Getlen, 2010.) Through Harper Lee, Lynch was offered a vision of a brighter and less hate-filled world and gave many others the courage to stand up and believe in themselves.

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