© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird


by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 13 Quotes

How we cite the quotes:

I said I would like it very much, which was a lie, but one must lie under certain circumstances and at all times when one can't do anything about them. (13.20)

Adulthood lesson numero uno: sometimes doing what people want you to do is the best way. Is it moral? Well, when it comes to little white lies to spare someone's feelings—maybe it actually is.

Somewhere, I had received the impression that Fine Folks were people who did the best they could with the sense they had, but Aunt Alexandra was of the opinion, obliquely expressed, that the longer a family had been squatting on one patch of land the finer it was. (13.28)

Scout's definition of "Fine Folks" is based on what their actions are (something they have control over), while Aunt Alexandra's is based on their family history (uh, can't help the crazy cousins). No rags-to-riches stories for her. She wants good solid staying-in-one-place-ness. While Scout's version allows people to get better through individual choice, in Aunt Alexandra's eyes, quality is a function of time more than anything.

There was indeed a caste system in Maycomb, but to my mind it worked this way: the older citizens, the present generation of people who had lived side by side for years and years, were utterly predictable to one another: they took for granted attitudes, character shadings, even gestures, as having been repeated in each generation and refined by time. Thus the dicta No Crawford Minds His Own Business, Every Third Merriweather Is Morbid, The Truth Is Not in the Delafields, All the Bufords Walk Like That, were simply guides to daily living: never take a check from a Delafield without a discreet call to the bank; Miss Maudie Atkinson's shoulder stoops because she was a Buford; if Mrs. Grace Merriweather sips gin out of Lydia E. Pinkham bottles it's nothing unusual—her mother did the same. (13.32)

Family is destiny. Limiting? Sure.There's no way for a person to be different from their parents. But it allows people to indulge themselves without being judged because general opinion is that they can't help themselves.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...