To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird

Summary
  1. Scout, Jem and their father Atticus live in 1930’s Alabama. Atticus is a lawyer and decides to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a white woman. Despite convincing evidence contrary, the jury casts a guilty verdict due to racial prejudices. The woman’s father, Bob Ewell, is nevertheless disgraced and attacks Jem and Scout to get revenge but a mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley, saves the children and kills Bob. Scout determines that she will not lose faith in humanity despite the hatred and prejudice she has been exposed to at such a young age
Key Takeaways
  1. “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.”
  2. “There are just some kinds of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one…”
  3. “…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…Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy…they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”
  4. “People in their right minds never take pride in their talents…”
  5. Atticus – “…before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
  6. “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. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
  7. “That Calpurnia led a modest double life never dawned on me. the idea that she had a separate existence outside our household was a novel one, to say nothing of her having command of two languages”
  8. “…but son, you’ll understand folks a bit better when you’re older. A mob’s always made up of people, no matter what. Mr. Cunningham was part of a mob last night, but he was still a man…”
  9. “Atticus’s eyes filled with tears [after receiving food from his nieghbor’s for defending Tom Robinson.] He did not speak for moment. “Tell them I’m very grateful,” he said. “Tell them – tell them they must never do this again. Times are too hard…”
  10. After Bob Ewell spit and threatened Atticus – “I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have a comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that’s something I’ll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that houseful of children out there.”
  11. After Scout and Jem were attacked by Bob Ewell – “Sometimes I think I’m a total failure as a parent, but I’m all they’ve got. Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I’ve tried to live so I can look squarely back at him…if I connived at something like this, frankly I couldn’t meet his eye, and the day I can’t do that I’ll know I’ve lost him. I don’t want to lose him and Scout, because they’re all I’ve got.”
  12. “Atticus, he was real nice…Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them”
  13. The inspiration for Scout’s friend, Dill, was taken from Lee’s childhood friend Truman Capote
What I got out of it
  1. Harper Lee draws the reader into this backward world where the children still have their innocence and moral grounding. Atticus is stoic in his actions and beliefs and I believe someone to be revered. The mockingbird comes to represent innocence and to kill a mockingbird is to kill somebody’s innocence (Jem, Dill, Boo Radley). Fantastic read and highly recommend

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.