To Kill A Mockingbird
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"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
- Atticus Finch
"Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
-Miss Maudie Atkinson
These two quotes are inter-related. 'It's a sin to kill a mockingbird' is possibly the most well know quote in the novel, giving it its name. The idea is introduced by Atticus, and later elaborated on by Miss Maudie Atkinson. The idea of a mockingbird being innocent, having done nothing wrong, can be applied and compared with Boo Radley. Boo has never done anything to the people of Maycomb, and yet they treat him like a wild animal, something to be afraid of and shunned.
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
- Atticus Finch
This quote is said by Atticus as he gives Scout advice on being more tollerant of her peers. It essentially means that you can't judge somebody before you experience what they have, and live their life. Atticus is teaching Scout not to jump to conclusions about anybody, and to give everyone a fair chance to prove themselves to be a good person.
"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."
- Atticus Finch
After Jem has been reading to Mrs Dubose, Atticus says this to him. He is trying to tell him that being able to hold a gun doesn't make you brave, because anyone can do it. But it takes a special kind of person to never give up on something they know is hopeless. This is what Mrs Dubose had done, and Atticus admired her for it. He wants Jem to be able to recognise real courage, because it will make him more understanding and a better person.
"In the second place, folks don't like to have somebody around knowin' more than they do. It aggravates 'em. You're not gonna change any of them by talkin' right, they've got to want to learn themselves, and when they don't want to learn there's nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language."
Calpurnia says this to Scout after their trip to First Purchase, referring to the African Americans in the church. She tells her that even though the black people don't know as much as the white people do, that the white people can't just change that unless the African Americans themselves want to listen. She knows that Scout is a smart girl, and tells her that if someone doesn't know as much as her, or doesn't want to learn, there's nothing she can do about it, it has to be their own decision.
"As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it-whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash."
- Atticus Finch
Atticus is telling his children that the way black people are treated is wrong. He says that a lot of white people think they're better and superior, but it really just makes them lower than anyone else. He wants his children to know that treating anyone that way just because you think you're better or more deserving, is wrong, and it makes you trash.
"You are too young to understand it... but sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of - oh your father."
- Miss Maudie Atkinson
Miss Maudie Atkinson is often judged by the townspeople because she does not go to church or worship religion as much as they do. This quote is telling the children and the reader that religion is good, but can be a bad thing if you try to force it upon people against their will.
"There's four kinds of folks in the world. There's the ordinary kind like us and the neighbours, there's the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump and the Negroes."
- Jem Finch
"I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."
- Scout Finch
This conversation is between Jem and Scout Finch. Jem believes that he has all of the people in town figured out, that they each fall into easily recognisable categories. Scout has a different view. She believes that everyone is equal, no matter who they are. All of the 'folks' in the world are all the same, some of them just choose to go down different paths.
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