Study Guide

Harper Lee Quotes

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"Atticus said to Jem one day, 'I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, 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 but 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.'"

Scout Finch, in To Kill A Mockingbird, Chapter 10

"In Maycomb, if one went for a walk with no definite purpose in mind, it was correct to believe one's mind incapable of definite purpose." — Scout Finch, in To Kill A Mockingbird, Chapter 15"Love purifies. Suffering never purified anybody; suffering merely intensifies the self-directed drives within us. Any act of love, however—no matter how small—lessens anxiety's grip, gives us a taste of tomorrow, and eases the yoke of our fears."

Harper Lee

"Writing is a process of self-discipline you must learn before you can call yourself a writer. There are people who write, but I think they're quite different from people who must write."

Harper Lee

"She kept me company when I was based out there. I suppose she was with me about two months altogether. She went on a number of interviews; she typed her own notes, and I had these and could refer to them. She was extremely helpful in the beginning, when we weren't making much headway with the town's people, by making friends with the wives of the people I wanted to meet. She became friendly with all the churchgoers. A Kansas paper said the other day that everyone out there was so wonderfully cooperative because I was a famous writer. The fact of the matter is that not one single person in the town had ever heard of me."

Truman Capote

"All in all, Scout Finch is fiction's most appealing child since Carson McCullers' Frankie got left behind at the wedding."

Time magazine, 1 August 1960

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