20 Of the most powerful quotes about fear in literature

Novels and stories can teach us the most about fear — how to be wary of it, how to use it, and most of all, how to overcome it.

Here are 20 quotes about fear from literature that will change your perspective on it, and will teach you to be brave.

1. “Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.” 
— Emma DonoghueRoom

2. “I have to face the fear. I have to take control of the situation and find a way to make it less frightening.” 
— Veronica RothDivergent

3. “Fear isn’t only a guide to keep us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life … the great stories go to those who don’t give in to fear.” 
— Donald MillerA Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

4. “Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.” 
— George R.R. MartinA Game of Thrones


 5. “I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.” 
— Yann MartelLife of Pi

6. “It was no coincidence, that fear could move a person to extremes, just as seamlessly as love. They were the conjoined twins of emotion: If you didn’t know what was at stake to lose, you had nothing to fight for.”
— Jodi PicoultThe Tenth Circle

7. “Fear’s useless. Either something bad happens or it doesn’t: If it doesn’t, you’ve wasted time being afraid, and if it does, you’ve wasted time that you could have spent sharpening your weapons.” 
— Sarah Rees BrennanThe Demon’s Lexicon

8. “Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it, that’s the point.”
— Veronica Roth, Divergent


9. “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves…” 
— Cheryl StrayedWild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

10. “Courage to me is doing something daring, no matter how afraid, insecure, intimidated, alone, unworthy, incapable, ridiculed or whatever other paralysing emotion you might feel. Courage is taking action…..no matter what.  So you’re afraid?  Be afraid.  Be scared silly to the point you’re trembling and nauseous, but do it anyway!” 
— Richelle E. GoodrichSmile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, & Grumblings for Every Day of the Year

11. “What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists.” 
— Spencer JohnsonWho Moved My Cheese?

12. “There’s no shame in fear, my father told me, what matters is how we face it.” 
— George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings


13. “It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” 
— Mandy HaleThe Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

14. “Fear can make you do more wrong than hate or jealousy… fear makes you always, always hold something back.” 
— Philip K. DickVALIS

15. “Fear is a powerful enemy, but not one too strong to overcome.” 
— Kiley KellermeyerDamselle in Distress

16. “What I have since realised is that if people expect you to be brave, sometimes you pretend that you are, even when you are frightened down to your very bones. ” 
— Sharon CreechWalk Two Moons


17. “Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.” 
— Rudyard KiplingThe Collected Works

18. “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” 
― Marcus AureliusMeditations

19. “Sometimes good choices are really bad ones, wrapped up in so much fear you can’t even see straight.” 
― Deb CalettiThe Secret Life of Prince Charming

20. “Best way to deal with fear is to confront it.” 
― Pittacus LoreI Am Number Four


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