Harper Lee

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EHUNIT ACORN SHOCKEY

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

Nelle Harper Lee (born April 28, 1926) is an American novelist and author of the classic 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

See also:
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962 film)

Quotes[edit]

  • Well, they’re Southern people, and if they know you are working at home they think nothing of walking right in for coffee. But they wouldn’t dream of interrupting you at golf.
    • On why she has done her best creative thinking while playing golf, as quoted in Time (12 May 1980)

To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)[edit]

I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.
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.
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.
  • Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.
    • Pt. 1, ch. 2
    • Jean Louise (Scout) Finch
  • 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.
    • Pt. 1, ch. 3
    • Atticus Finch
  • 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.
    • Pt. 1, ch. 4
    • Jean Louise (Scout) Finch
  • And it's certainly bad, but when a man spends his relief checks on green whiskey his children have a way of crying from hunger pains. I don't know of any landowner around here who begrudges those children any game their father can hit. Of course he shouldn't, but he'll never change his ways. Are you going to take out your disapproval on his children?
    • Pt. 1, ch.3
    • Atticus Finch
  • 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.
    • Pt. 1, ch. 7
    • Jean Louise (Scout) Finch
  • 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, an evasion simply muddles 'em.
    • Pt. 1, ch. 9
    • Atticus Finch
  • Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they're not attracting attention with it, hotheadedness isn't.
    • Pt. 1, ch. 9
    • Atticus Finch
  • Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don't pretend to understand.
    • Pt. 1, ch. 9
    • Atticus Finch
  • "I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.
    “Your father's right," she said. "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."
    • Pt. 1, ch. 89
    • Atticus Finch & Maudie Atkinson
  • People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.
    • Pt. 1, ch. 10
    • Miss Maudie
  • 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.
    • Pt. 1, ch. 11
    • Atticus Finch
  • 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.
    • Pt. 1, ch. 11
    • Jean Louise (Scout) Finch
  • 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.
    • Pt.1, ch.11
    • Atticus Finch
  • 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. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.
    • Pt. 1, ch. 11
    • Atticus Finch
  • 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.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 12
    • Calpurnia
  • 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.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 12
    • Jean Louise (Scout) Finch
  • 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.
    • Jean Louise (Scout) Finch
    • Pt. 2, ch. 16
  • 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.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 16
    • Atticus Finch
  • Apparently, Mayella's recital had given her confidence, but it was not her father's brash kind: there was something stealthy about hers, like a steady-eyed cat with a twitchy tail.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 18
  • Slowly but surely I began to see the pattern of questions: from questions that Mr.Gilmer did not deem sufficiently irrelevant or immaterial to object to, Atticus was quietly building up before the jury the picture of the Ewell's home life.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 18
    • Jean Louise (Scout) Finch
  • I’m no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system — that is no ideal to me, it is a living, working reality. Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury. A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 20
    • Atticus Finch
  • 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.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 23
    • Atticus Finch
  • But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal — there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court. It can be the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest J.P. court in the land, or this honourable court which you serve. Our courts have their faults, as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the great levellers, and in our courts all men are created equal.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 20
    • Atticus Finch
  • "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."
    • Pt. 2, ch. 22
  • I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 23
    • Jean Louise (Scout) Finch
  • In the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 25
  • "An' they chased him 'n' never could catch him 'cause they didn't know what he looked like, an' Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things... Atticus, he was real nice..."
    "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."
    • Pt. 2, ch. 31
    • Jean Louise (Scout) Finch & Atticus Finch
  • 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.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 31
    • Jean Louise (Scout) Finch

Quotes about Lee[edit]

  • She's like a national treasure. She's someone who has made a difference … with this book. The book is still as strong as it ever was, and so is the film. All the kids in the United States read this book and see the film in the seventh and eighth grades and write papers and essays. My husband used to get thousands and thousands of letters from teachers who would send them to him.
    • Veronique Peck, widow of Gregory Peck, as quoted in "Harper Lee raises her low profile for a friend; The author of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' shuns fanfare. But for the kin of Gregory Peck" by Irene Lacher in The Los Angeles Times (21 May 2005), p. E 1

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
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