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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Justice and Judgment Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Atticus, you must be wrong...."

"How's that?"

"Well, most folks seem to think they're right and you're wrong...." (11.54-56)

If there's one thing that we learned from jeggings, Uggs, and chain wallets, it's that the majority isn't always right. But Atticus doesn't need anyone to teach him that lessons. He already knows that individual conscience is a better guide to justice than majority opinion.

Quote #2

"You goin' to court this morning?" asked Jem. […]

"I am not. 't's morbid, watching a poor devil on trial for his life. Look at all those folks, it's like a Roman carnival."

"They hafta try him in public, Miss Maudie," I said. "Wouldn't be right if they didn't."

"I'm quite aware of that," she said. "Just because it's public, I don't have to go, do I?" (16.40-48)

This is one reason that courtroom cameras are controversial: making trials public is one way of guaranteeing that they're fair (not that it worked in this case), but it also turns the whole thing into a circus.

Quote #3

So far, things were utterly dull: nobody had thundered, there were no arguments between opposing counsel, there was no drama; a grave disappointment to all present, it seemed. Atticus was proceeding amiably, as if he were involved in a title dispute. With his infinite capacity for calming turbulent seas, he could make a rape case as dry as a sermon. (17.56)

And all these people wanted was a fun day out, right? Atticus ruins everything with his fair, reasonable, and calm approach to deciding a man's fate. Spoilsport.

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