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 see it through no matter what.
This quote appears in the Chapter 11, at the very end of Part 1. It is the part of the story, told by Mr. Atticus to Jem about the death of their neighbor, Mrs. Dubose. She was a really controversial person and not easy-going one, but Mr. Atticus told Jem that Mrs. Dubose wasn’t as bad as the boy thought, he even calls her a lady.
The quote above is about Mrs. Dubose’s decision to quit using morphine. She was terminally ill and has to take the drug to reduce her pain. She became extremely addicted but decided to pass away free of it, even knowing that she will suffer an incredible pain. Mr. Atticus tells his son about the inner courage, about will and determination that don’t need an able body or a weapon.