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Some of the best quotes from Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

Harper Lee smiles during a ceremony honoring the four new members of the Alabama Academy of Honor at the Capitol in Montgomery, Ala. Lee, elusive author of best-seller "To Kill a Mockingbird," has died at 89. [Associated Press (2007)]
Harper Lee smiles during a ceremony honoring the four new members of the Alabama Academy of Honor at the Capitol in Montgomery, Ala. Lee, elusive author of best-seller "To Kill a Mockingbird," has died at 89. [Associated Press (2007)]
Published Feb. 19, 2016

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's novel about justice in a small Southern town, was published in 1960 and it became standard reading for millions of young people. It is the story of a girl nicknamed Scout growing up during the Depression in Alabama. A black man has been wrongly accused of raping a white woman, and Scout's father, the resolute lawyer Atticus Finch, defends him despite threats and the scorn of many. The book quickly became a best-seller, won the Pulitzer Prize and was made into a memorable movie in 1962, with Gregory Peck winning an Oscar for his portrayal of Atticus. As the civil rights movement grew, the novel inspired a generation of young lawyers, was assigned in high schools all over the country and was a popular choice for citywide, or nationwide, reading programs. By 2015, its sales were reported by HarperCollins to be more than 40 million worldwide, making it one of the most widely read American novels of the 20th century. Here are some of the best loved quotes from the book:

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."

• • •

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

• • •

"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."

• • •

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

• • •

"Ladies in bunches always filled me with vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere."

• • •

"Things are never as bad as they seem."

• • •

"We're paying the highest tribute you can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It's that simple."

• • •

"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."

• • •

"Things are always better in the morning."

• • •

"Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts."

• • •

"I know now what he was trying to do, but Atticus was only a man. It takes a woman to do that kind of work."

• • •

"It's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you."

• • •

" 'Atticus, he was real nice'. 'Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.' "

• • •

"You can choose your friends but you sho' can't choose your family, an' they're still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge 'em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don't."

• • •

"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."

• • •

"You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don't you let 'em get your goat. Try fightin' with your head for a change."

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.

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