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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Youth Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Atticus had promised me he would wear me out if he ever heard of me fighting any more; I was far too old and too big for such childish things, and the sooner I learned to hold in, the better off everybody would be. (9.1)

Is it just us, or is there a big dose of hypocrisy here? (1) Atticus doesn't want Scout fighting, but he promises to "wear her out," i.e. physically punish her in some way; (2) he wants her to keep it in, but he also wants her to be honest. Being a kid sure is confusing.

Quote #2

"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." (9.175)

Atticus recognizes that his kids are different from adults, but he respects his children—which means no lying to them or avoiding hard truths. Does this mean no Santa Claus for the Finch kids?

Quote #3

When we were small, Jem and I confined our activities to the southern neighborhood, but when I was well into the second grade at school and tormenting Boo Radley became passé, the business section of Maycomb drew us frequently up the street past the real property of Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose. It was impossible to go to town without passing her house unless we wished to walk a mile out of the way. Previous minor encounters with her left me with no desire for more, but Jem said I had to grow up some time. (11.1)

Growing up is great. You get your driver's license, a later curfew, and then you get to go off to college and eat pizza whenever you want. And then you start your first job, and you realize that you can't afford to eat out all the time and you can't skip your job if you're up late watching a Real Housewives marathon. Turn out, growing up means that you have to face unpleasant things instead of avoiding them—and you can't actually do what you want all the time.

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