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Memorable Quotes from 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

Renuka Savant
It's been 64 years since the publication of Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and its impact remains as strong as it was, all those years ago. We bring you some memorable and inspiring quotes from this landmark novel.

'To Kill a Mockingbird' has ...

☆ won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961.

☆ never been out of print ever since its first publication.
Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is a striking read―its simplistic and stark portrayal of seemingly serious issues is what makes it the masterpiece it is. Racial inequality and rape aren't the easiest of topics to write on; they demand a sensitivity which stems perhaps from an up, close, and personal experience with it.
Lee's story on the racial prejudice prevalent in the Deep South is documented through the eyes of a child, which automatically lends it an innocent yet utterly poignant feel. The novel is widely studied in schools across the United States, teaching students to denounce prejudices and emphasize on equality.

Inspiring Quotes from 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

Atticus Finch

✧ You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don't you let 'em get your goat. Try fightin' with your head for a change.
✧ There's something in our world that makes men lose their heads-they couldn't be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins. They're ugly, but those are the facts of life.
✧ You know the truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women-black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men.
✧ You just be a gentleman, son.

✧ This case, Tom Robinson's case, is something that goes to the essence of a man's conscience-Scout, I couldn't go to church and worship God if I didn't try to help that man.
✧ 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.
✧ Scout, said Atticus, nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don't mean anything-like snot-nose. It's hard to explain-ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody's favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It's slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.
✧ 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.
✧ It's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you.

✧ There's a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep 'em all away from you. That's never possible.
✧ Are you proud of yourself tonight that you have insulted a total stranger whose circumstances you know nothing about?

✧ This time we aren't fighting the Yankees, we're fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things get, they're still our friends and this is still our home.

Jeremy "Jem" Finch

✧ Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time... it's because he wants to stay inside.
✧ Atticus says you can choose your friends but you sho' can't choose your family, an' they're still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge 'em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don't.

Jean Louise "Scout" Finch

✧ Do you defend niggers, Atticus? I asked him that evening.
Of course I do. Don't say nigger, Scout. That's common.
's what everybody at school says.
From now on it'll be everybody less one--
Well if you don't want me to grow up talkin' that way, why do you send me to school?
✧ Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the tree house; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.

✧ I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.
✧ Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.

✧ Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.

✧ Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts.
✧ 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.

✧ Atticus had said it was the polite thing to talk to people about what they were interested in, not about what you were interested in.
✧ Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.

Miss Maude "Maudie" Atkinson

✧ People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.

✧ Mockingbirds don't do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corn cribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.
✧ We're paying the highest tribute you can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It's that simple.

✧ You are too young to understand it ... but sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of - oh, of your father.

Dolphus Raymond

✧ It ain't honest but it's mighty helpful to folks. Secretly, Miss Finch, I'm not much of a drinker, but you see they could never, never understand that I live like I do because that's the way I want to live.