'To Kill a Mockingbird': 8 of Harper Lee's Most Inspiring Lines

Some of the favorite lines fans quote from the classic novel about overcoming racial bigotry.

To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee, who died Friday at 89 in her hometown Monroeville, Ala., is considered one of the most moving and inspiring novels of the 20th Century for the way it confronted racial prejudice and bigotry in the Jim Crow South. Not only has it become a staple of high school and college classes but British librarians ranked it No. 1 on their "must read list" (ahead of the Bible).

Here are eight of To Kill a Mockingbird’s most inspiring and requoted lines:

1. "Atticus said to Jem one day, 'I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, 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 except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.' "

2. "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

3. "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 see it through no matter what."

4. "The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience." 

5. "Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of [another]."

6. "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."

7. "People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for."

8. "I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks."
 

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