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Quotations from
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee, 1960


It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 11


They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 11, spoken by the character Atticus


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 you see it through no matter what.  You rarely win, but sometimes you do.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 11, spoken by the character Atticus


She seemed glad to see me when I appeared in the kitchen, and by watching her I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 12


So it took an eight-year-old child to bring 'em to their senses.... That proves something - that a gang of wild animals can be stopped, simply because they're still human.  Hmp, maybe we need a police force of children.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 16, spoken by the character Atticus


"I think I'll be a clown when I get grown," said Dill.  "Yes, sir, a clown.... There ain't one thing in this world I can do about folks except laugh, so I'm gonna join the circus and laugh my head off."  "You got it backwards, Dill," said Jem.  "Clowns are sad, it's folks that laugh at them."  "Well, I'm gonna be a new kind of clown.  I'm gonna stand in the middle of the ring and laugh at the folks."  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 22


The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box.  As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 23, spoken by the character Atticus


I think there's just one kind of folks.  Folks.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 23, spoken by the character Scout


The sixth grade seemed to please him from the beginning:  he went through a brief Egyptian Period that baffled me - he tried to walk flat a great deal, sticking one arm in front of him and one in back of him, putting one foot behind the other.  He declared Egyptians walked that way; I said if they did I didn't see how they got anything done, but Jem said they accomplished more than the Americans ever did, they invented toilet paper and perpetual embalming, and asked where would we be today if they hadn't?  Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 7


When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness' sake.  But don't make a production of it.  Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 9, spoken by the character Atticus


Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they're not attracting attention with it.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 9, spoken by the character Atticus


Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don't pretend to understand.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 9, spoken by the character Atticus



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