Courage, I seemed to think, comes to us in finite quantities, like an inheritance, and by being frugal and stashing it away and letting it earn interest, we steadily increase our moral capital in preparation for that day when the account must be drawn down. It as a comforting theory. It dispensed with all those bothersome little acts of daily courage; it offered hope and grace to the repetitive coward; it justified the past while amortizing the future.I'm teaching the first of three classes (in my seminar on the 1960s) on Tim O'Brien's amazing book The Things They Carried tomorrow. It will be the fifth or sixth time, I think, I've taught it. At least fifth, plus one time I taught the title story by itself.
— Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried, "On the Rainy River"
Anyway, now, rereading it for class tomorrow, for the sixth or seventh or whateveritisth time, this quote struck me. I've read those words before, of course, many times. But each time through, of course, different quotes stand out; this one stood out tonight.