To Kill a Mockingbird is an American drama novel by Harper Lee. It became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. Over the years, the novel has become a classic of modern American literature.
To Kill a Mockingbird follows the story of a six-year-old girl named Scout (Jean Louise Finch), and her older brother Jem (Jeremy Finch), who lives with their widowed father Atticus Finch, a middle-aged lawyer. In the story, Atticus defends a black person who has been accused of raping a young white woman.
The novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and converted into a successful Academy Award-winning film next year. In 2006, British librarians ranked the book ahead of the Bible as one “every adult should read before they die”.
Here are the best quotes from this compassionate and deeply moving story.
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.Atticus Finch, Chapter 3
Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.Scout Finch, Chapter 2
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.Atticus Finch, Chapter 11
The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.Atticus Finch, Chapter 11
Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of – oh, of your father.Miss Maudie, Chapter 5
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.Atticus Finch, Chapter 23
There are just some kind of men who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one.Miss Maudie, Chapter 5
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.Scout Finch, Chapter 11
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 fighting with your head for a change.Atticus Finch, Chapter 9
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.Atticus Finch, Chapter 9
Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.Atticus Finch, Chapter 9
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.Atticus Finch, Chapter 11
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.Jem Finch, Chapter 23
We’re paying the highest tribute we can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It’s that simple.Miss Maudie, Chapter 24
Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they’re not attracting attention with it.Atticus Finch, Chapter 9
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, Chapter 12
It was the polite thing to talk to people about what they were interested in, not about what you were interested in.Scout Finch, Chapter 15
A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up.Atticus Finch, Chapter 20
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.Atticus Finch, Chapter 23
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.Atticus Finch, Chapter 9
Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.Atticus Finch, Chapter 10
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 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, Chapter 10