If you’ve ever read any list of ‘books to read before you die’ ever, you’d know that To Kill a Mockingbird is something that you just have to pick up before your time on earth is up. I remember reading it more than a decade ago and unfortunately at the time, I was young. Due to the follies of youth, I read this masterpiece simply as a story of a young girl going about her daily life in the fictional city of Maycomb, Alabama, ignorant of the rampant racism that existed during the time and also a father-daughter relationship that, through a lack of maturity, I couldn’t understand. Harper Lee passed away last Friday, at 89 years of age, and was buried on Saturday at the First United Methodist Church, Monroeville, Alabama – the town which she used as a model for her award winning novel. The book still sits on my shelf at home and I think it’s a great time to blow off the dust and revisit this American classic but in the meantime, here are some of the greatest lines found in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Enjoy.
“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.”
“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”
Then there was the time that Atticus Finch ditched out some fatherly advice:
“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 fightin’ with your head for a change.”
“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.”
Of course, this would have to be the defining paragraph of the book:
“Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays 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 except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
But by far my favourite line is this:
“Pass the damn ham, please.”
Any flak you get at the dinner table for using this Jem (pardon the pun, I just couldn’t help it) is entirely on you.