The 15 Best Quotes From Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

Celebrated American writer Harper Lee, best known for writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has passed away at the age of 89 in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

Lee’s debut novel was set in the mid-1930s in small-town Alabama and follows the story of precocious child Scout Finch and her father, Atticus. Atticus is a lawyer and is appointed by a judge to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a young white woman.

The story follows Robinson’s trial and explores the themes of racial injustice and traditional class and gender roles.

Harper Lee (Photo: Polaris Eyevine)

The novel which is littered with touching quotes about life, has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. And you almost definitely read it in high school. But since high school wasn’t exactly yesterday, here are 15 of the most memorable quotes from her classic novel.

Better yet, you should probably go back and read it again. Just don’t bother with Go Set a Watchman

1. “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.”

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

3. “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

4. “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”

5. “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”

6. “Things are never as bad as they seem.”

7. “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.”

8. “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.”

9. “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.”

10. “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

11. “Atticus, he was real nice.” “Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”

12. “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.”

13. “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.”

14. “With him, life was routine; without him, life was unbearable.”

15. “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.”