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To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee


Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.

Charles Lamb







'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.'

Atticus Finch







'Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)... There are just some kind of men who - who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.'

Miss Maudie Atkinson







'No matter what anybody says to you, don't you let 'em get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change ... it's a good one, even if it does resist learning.'

'Atticus, are we going to win it?'

'No, honey.'

'Then why -'

Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.'





'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 faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em.'

Atticus Finch







'Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Miss Maudie Atkinson







'People in their right mind never take pride in their talents.'

Miss Maudie Atkinson







'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. Mrs Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.'

Atticus Finch







'It's not necessary to tell all you know. It's not ladylike - in the second place, folks don't like to have somebody around knowin' more than they do. It aggravates 'em. You're not gonna change any of them by talkin' right, they've got to want to learn themselves, and when they don't want to learn there's nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language.'

Calpurnia







I was becoming nervous. Atticus seemed to know what he was doing - but it seemed to me that he'd gone frog-sticking without a light. Never, never, never, on cross-examination ask a witness a question you don't already know the answer to, was a tenet I absorbed with my baby-food. Do it and you'll often get an answer you don't want, an answer that might wreck your case.

Scout







'Things haven't caught up with that one's instinct yet. Let him get a little older, and he won't get sick and cry. Maybe things'll strike him as being - not quite right, say, but he won't cry, not when he gets a few years in him.'

'Cry about what, Mr Raymond?' Dill's maleness was beginning to assert itself.

'Cry about the simple hell people give other people - without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give coloured folks, without even stopping to think that they're people, too.'





'Atticus - ' said Jem bleakly.

'How could they do it, how could they?'

'I don't know, but they did it. They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it - seems that only children weep. Good night.'





'Doesn't make it right,' said Jem stolidly. He beat his fist softly on his knee. 'You just can't convict a man on evidence like that - you can't.'

'You couldn't, but they could and did. The older you grow the more of it you'll see. The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any colour 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.'





But I was more at home in my father's world. People like Mr Heck Tate did not trap you with innocent questions to make fun of you; even Jem was not highly critical unless you said something stupid. Ladies seemed to live in faint horror of men; seemed unwilling to approve wholeheartedly of them. But I liked them. There was something about them, no matter how much they cussed and drank and gambled and chewed; no matter how delectable they were, there was something about them that I instinctively liked... they weren't [hypocrites].

Scout







'Whether Maycomb knows it or not, we're paying the highest tribute we can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It's that simple.'

Miss Maudie Atkinson







'Mr Finch, there's just some kind of men you have to shoot before you can hidy to 'em. Even then, they ain't worth the bullet it takes to shoot 'em.'

Heck Tate







Daylight... in my mind, the night faded. it was daytime and the neighbourhood was busy. Miss Stephanie Crawford crossed the street to tell the latest to Miss Rachel. Miss Maudie bent over her azaleas. it was summertime, and two children scampered down the sidewalk towards a man approaching in the distance. The man waved, and the children raced each other to him.

It was still summertime, and the children came closer. A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishing-pole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention.

It was fall, and his children fought on the sidewalk in front of Mrs Dubose's. The boy helped his sister to her feet, and they made their way home. Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woes and triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive.

Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog.

Summer, and he watched his children's heart break. Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him.



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