Literary Quotations
Browse quotes by source | Browse quotes by author

Quotes from:

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

by: Harper Lee


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

--Chapter 2

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

--Chapter 3

As I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me.

--Chapter 3

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.

--Chapter 5

There are some kind of men who--who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one.

--Chapter 5

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.

--Chapter 9

I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year.

--Chapter 9

Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don't pretend to understand.

--Chapter 9

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.

--Chapter 10

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

--Chapter 10

Before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself.

--Chapter 11

The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.

--Chapter 11

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.

--Chapter 11

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.

--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.

--Chapter 16

"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."

--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.

--Chapter 23

I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.

--Chapter 23

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.

--Chapter 31

More Harper Lee Quotes