To Kill a Mockingbird


Significant Quotations

Throughout the book, there are several quotations that "stand out" and have a high level of significance to the overall story. These are important to discuss, in order to see how they relate to the rest of the book and what deeper information about the setting and the time period they are actually working to convey.

Quotation One: Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop…bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum…There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.

This comes from Chapter One, and is used by the older version of Scout who narrates some of the book as a way to describe her hometown of Maycomb. She is emphasizing the heat and humidity in Alabama, the slower pace of life there, and the kinds of values that the people in the town have. The unpaved streets and red clay remind the reader that the town is not something that has big-city affluence. It is tired, sleepy, and slow-moving, but there are good people there, just like anywhere. The chronological setting of the novel is also created by this quotation, because it addresses technology that is highly outdated today. It is clear that the novel is set in an older time, and discussion of the high level of poverty helps to establish how the town is coping through the Great Depression, while Franklin D. Roosevelt is president.

Quotation Two: 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.

In Chapter Three, Atticus is imparting this information to Scout. It is moral advice...

Sign up to continue reading Significant Quotations >

Essays About To Kill a Mockingbird