To Kill a Mockingbird: Notes and Quotes

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Quotes in To Kill a Mockingbird by theme
Pride| * ‘…I suppose he loved honour more than his head…’ – talking about Jem when he ran up to the Radley House on a dare. A childish example of the much more complex idea of pride explored in this book * When asked why he is defending Tom Robinson, Atticus reponds that ‘…if I didn’t, I couldn’t hold up my head in town…’ * ‘It was the first time I ever walked away from a fight…’ – Scout refuses to fight Cecil Jacobs even though he insults Atticus, because Atticus had asked her not to fight. She gave up her pride for the respect of her father. * While Scout is proud that ‘Atticus is the ‘deadest shot in Maycomb County’, Jem takes more pride in the fact that Atticus is no proud of this talent and does not use it unless he has to, and that ‘Atticus is a gentleman, like me!’ This is a great example of the way ideas change with youth. * ‘She said she was going to leave this world beholden to nothing and nobody. Jem, when you’re sick as she was, it’s all right to take anything to make it easier, but it wasn’t all right for her. She said she meant to break herself of it before she dies, and that’s what she did’ – About Ms Dubose, who was too proud to die a morphine addict * A major aspect of pride in this novel if family pride. An example of this is when Jem and Scout withstand all of Ms Dubose’s insults and taunts, until she insults their father. When she exclaims that ‘‘your father’s no better than the niggers and trash he works for!’ Jem loses it and destroys her garden. * ‘It was a sad thing that my father had neglected to tell me about the Finch Family, or to install any pride into his children’. As we have already seen, the Finch children are certainly proud of their father and themselves. However, Aunt Alexandra considers family pride upmost – they should not pride in Atticus for his bravery, but pride in him for upholding certain family traditions. To Alexandra, the best families were those who had lived on a certain plot of land longest.| Perspective/understanding other people| * ‘There’s some folks who don’t eat like us’ Another childish example which explores the much deeper idea of perspective * ‘If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. 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.’ * ‘You children last night made Walter Cunningham stand in my shoes for a minute. That was enough’ (after the mob scene) * ‘They could never, never understand that I live like I do because that’s the way I want to live’ – Mr Raymond - the ‘drunkard’ - who claims he can tell them ‘because you’re children and you can understand it’ unlike the adults. * Atticus stands by his beliefs and is even able to see Mr Ewell’s point of view; ‘Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minutes. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial…’| Femininity| * ‘Sometimes you act so much like a girl it’s mortifyin’’ * ‘…Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always imagined things, that’s who other people hated them so…’ * ‘I declare to the lord you’re getting more like a girl every day!’ * ‘I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress she said I wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants’ * Aunt Alexandra claims she moved in to provide Scout a ‘feminine influence’ * ‘I felt the walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me…’| Growing up/youth| * ‘”We shouldn’a done that tonight, Scout.” It was then, I suppose, that Jem and I first began to part company.’ ( after the shooting at the Radley house when they tried to peek in the windows) * ‘…I was far too old and big for such childish things, and the sooner I learned to hold it in, the better off everybody would be.’ (About fighting) * ‘When a child asks you something,...
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