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98 Powerful Harper Lee Quotes That You Will Never Forget

Famous As: American Author Best Known for Her Novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
Born On: April 28, 1926
Died On: February 19, 2016
Born In: Monroeville, Alabama, United States
Died At Age: 89

Harper Lee was an American novelist, famous for her work in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, which went on to become a classic of modern American Literature. Her work was basically based on fiction, drama, mystery and inspired from observations made from family and neighbors in her hometown. Her novels often highlighted the irrationalities of adult attitudes towards different castes, creed and races. She was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for her bestseller ‘Go Set a Watchman’. Her writing style focused on narrative brilliance, visual art, and seamless transition into another scene. Another aspect in which she tried to throw light on was the prevalent injustice due to racism in the era she lived in. Even though she brought up bold discussions on issues such as rape, racial slur and profanity, her novels became quite a sensation, with wide acceptance by critics, editorials and tabloids. We have excerpted Harper Lee’s books, writings and life. Browse through some of Harper Lee’s quotes on books, writing, point of view, advice, conscience, majority, childhood, success, courage, death etc.

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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.

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.

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

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

Harper Lee
People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.

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

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

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

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

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

Harper Lee
I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.

I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.

Harper Lee
Atticus, he was real nice.

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

Harper Lee
People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.

People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.

Harper Lee
It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.

It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.

Harper Lee
With him, life was routine; without him, life was unbearable.

With him, life was routine; without him, life was unbearable.

Harper Lee
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.
-Atticus Finch

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. -Atticus Finch

Harper Lee
Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.

Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.

Harper Lee
When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em.

When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em.

Harper Lee
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.

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.

Harper Lee
Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.

Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.

Harper Lee
Pass the damn ham, please.

Pass the damn ham, please.

Harper Lee
I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year.
 Scout

I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year. Scout

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

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

Harper Lee
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.

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.

Harper Lee
There are just some kind of men who-who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.

There are just some kind of men who-who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.

Harper Lee
It's not time to worry yet

It's not time to worry yet

Harper Lee
Things are always better in the morning.

Things are always better in the morning.

Harper Lee
Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'.

Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'.

Harper Lee
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.

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.

Harper Lee
They've done it before and they'll do it again and when they do it -- seems that only the children weep. Good night.

They've done it before and they'll do it again and when they do it -- seems that only the children weep. Good night.

Harper Lee
Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself...It's a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.

Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself...It's a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.

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

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

Harper Lee
Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Harper Lee
Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.

Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.

Harper Lee
As a reader I loathe introductions...Introductions inhibit pleasure, they kill the joy of anticipation, they frustrate curiosity.

As a reader I loathe introductions...Introductions inhibit pleasure, they kill the joy of anticipation, they frustrate curiosity.

Harper Lee
That boy is your company. And if he wants to eat up that tablecloth, you let him, you hear?

That boy is your company. And if he wants to eat up that tablecloth, you let him, you hear?

Harper Lee
There are some men in this world who are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father's one of them.

There are some men in this world who are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father's one of them.

Harper Lee
Things are never as bad as they seem.

Things are never as bad as they seem.

Harper Lee
There's a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep 'em all away from you. That's never possible.

There's a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep 'em all away from you. That's never possible.

Harper Lee
Are you proud of yourself tonight that you have insulted a total stranger whose circumstances you know nothing about?

Are you proud of yourself tonight that you have insulted a total stranger whose circumstances you know nothing about?

Harper Lee
She seemed glad to see me when I appeared in the kitchen, and by watching her I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl.

She seemed glad to see me when I appeared in the kitchen, and by watching her I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl.

Harper Lee
Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they're not attracting attention with it.

Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they're not attracting attention with it.

Harper Lee
Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing 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.

Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing 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.

Harper Lee
Try fighting with your head for a change...
it's a good one, even if it does resist learning.

Try fighting with your head for a change... it's a good one, even if it does resist learning.

Harper Lee
Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscious.

Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscious.

Harper Lee
I don't want to hear any words like that while I'm here. Scout, you'll get in trouble if you go around saying things like that. You want to grow up to be a lady, don't you?'

I said not particularly.

I don't want to hear any words like that while I'm here. Scout, you'll get in trouble if you go around saying things like that. You want to grow up to be a lady, don't you?' I said not particularly.

Harper Lee
I'm little but I'm old.

I'm little but I'm old.

Harper Lee
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—” 

“Sir?” 

“—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—” “Sir?” “—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

Harper Lee
Dill?

Dill?" Mm?" Why do you reckon Boo Radleys never run off?" Dill sighed a long sigh and turned away from me. Maybe he doesn't have anywhere to run off to

Harper Lee
[T]he time your friends need you is when they’re wrong, Jean Louise. They don’t need you when they’re right

[T]he time your friends need you is when they’re wrong, Jean Louise. They don’t need you when they’re right

Harper Lee
See there?

See there?" Jem was scowling triumphantly. "Nothin' to it. I swear, Scout, sometimes you act so much like a girl its mortifyin

Harper Lee
He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.

He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.

Harper Lee
Atticus had said it was the polite thing to talk to people about what they were interested in, not about what you were interested in.

Atticus had said it was the polite thing to talk to people about what they were interested in, not about what you were interested in.

Harper Lee
Some negroes lie, some are immoral, some negro men are not be trusted around women - black and white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men.

Some negroes lie, some are immoral, some negro men are not be trusted around women - black and white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men.

Harper Lee
A man can condemn his enemies, but it’s wiser to know them.

A man can condemn his enemies, but it’s wiser to know them.

Harper Lee
I wonder how much of the day I spend just callin' after you.

I wonder how much of the day I spend just callin' after you.

Harper Lee
As sure as time, history is repeating itself, and as sure as man is man, history is the last place he’ll look for his lessons.

As sure as time, history is repeating itself, and as sure as man is man, history is the last place he’ll look for his lessons.

Harper Lee
You can't really get to know a person until you get in their shoes and walk around in them.

You can't really get to know a person until you get in their shoes and walk around in them.

Harper Lee
I shall never marry, Atticus.

I shall never marry, Atticus." "Why?" "I might have children.

Harper Lee
The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.

The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.

Harper Lee
Remember this also: it’s always easy to look back and see what we were, yesterday, ten years ago. It is hard to see what we are. If you can master that trick, you’ll get along.

Remember this also: it’s always easy to look back and see what we were, yesterday, ten years ago. It is hard to see what we are. If you can master that trick, you’ll get along.

Harper Lee
There's just some kind of men you have to shoot before you can say hidy to 'em. Even then, they ain't worth the bullet it takes to shoot 'em.

There's just some kind of men you have to shoot before you can say hidy to 'em. Even then, they ain't worth the bullet it takes to shoot 'em.

Harper Lee
Cry about the simple hell people give other people- without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give colored folks, without even stopping to think that they're people too.

Cry about the simple hell people give other people- without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give colored folks, without even stopping to think that they're people too.

Harper Lee
Scout, Im telling you for the last time, shut your trap or go home - I declare to the Lord youre gettin more like a girl every day!”
With that, I had no option but to join them.

Scout, Im telling you for the last time, shut your trap or go home - I declare to the Lord youre gettin more like a girl every day!” With that, I had no option but to join them.

Harper Lee
Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I’ve tried to live so I can look squarely back at him.

Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I’ve tried to live so I can look squarely back at him.

Harper Lee
I don't know, but they did it. They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it--seems that only children weep.

I don't know, but they did it. They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it--seems that only children weep.

Harper Lee
People don’t like to have somebody knowing more than they do. It aggravates them.

People don’t like to have somebody knowing more than they do. It aggravates them.

Harper Lee
Turtles don't feel, stupid,

Turtles don't feel, stupid," said Jem. "Were you ever a turtle, huh?

Harper Lee
I never loved reading until I feared I would lose it. One does not love breathing.

I never loved reading until I feared I would lose it. One does not love breathing.

Harper Lee
You rarely win, but sometimes you do.

You rarely win, but sometimes you do.

Harper Lee
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

Harper Lee
If you did not want much, there was plenty.

If you did not want much, there was plenty.

Harper Lee
Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Harper Lee
Everybody’s gotta learn, nobody’s born knowing.

Everybody’s gotta learn, nobody’s born knowing.

Harper Lee
I need a watchman to tell me this is what a man says but this is what he means, to draw a line down the middle and say here is this justice and there is that justice and make me understand the difference.

I need a watchman to tell me this is what a man says but this is what he means, to draw a line down the middle and say here is this justice and there is that justice and make me understand the difference.

Harper Lee
You see they could never, never understand that I live like I do because that's the way I want to live.

You see they could never, never understand that I live like I do because that's the way I want to live.

Harper Lee
Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives.

Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives.

Harper Lee
Nothin’s real scary except in books.

Nothin’s real scary except in books.

Harper Lee
One must lie under certain circumstances and at all times when one can't do anything about them.

One must lie under certain circumstances and at all times when one can't do anything about them.

Harper Lee
I try to give'em a reason, you see. It helps folks if they can latch onto a reason.

I try to give'em a reason, you see. It helps folks if they can latch onto a reason.

Harper Lee
Don’t you study about other folks’s business till you take care of your own.

Don’t you study about other folks’s business till you take care of your own.

Harper Lee
They're ugly, but those are the facts of life.

They're ugly, but those are the facts of life.

Harper Lee
I'm Charles Baker Harris...I can read

I'm Charles Baker Harris...I can read

Harper Lee
Sometimes we have to kill a little so we can live.

Sometimes we have to kill a little so we can live.

Harper Lee
Talking to Francis gave me the sensation of settling slowly to the bottom of the ocean.

Talking to Francis gave me the sensation of settling slowly to the bottom of the ocean.

Harper Lee
In Maycomb, if one went for a walk with no definite purpose in mind, it was correct to believe one's mind incapable of definite purpose.

In Maycomb, if one went for a walk with no definite purpose in mind, it was correct to believe one's mind incapable of definite purpose.

Harper Lee
Autumn was her happiest season.

Autumn was her happiest season.

Harper Lee
Clowns are sad, it's folks that laugh at them.

Clowns are sad, it's folks that laugh at them." "Well, I'm gonna be a new kind of clown. I'm gonna stand in the middle of the ring and laugh at the folks.

Harper Lee
Sometimes it’s better to bend the law a little in special cases.

Sometimes it’s better to bend the law a little in special cases.

Harper Lee
Finders were keepers unless title was proven.

Finders were keepers unless title was proven.

Harper Lee
I came to the conclusion that people were just peculiar, I withdrew from them, and never thought about them until I was forced to.

I came to the conclusion that people were just peculiar, I withdrew from them, and never thought about them until I was forced to.

Harper Lee
In other words, all I want to be is the Jane Austen of south Alabama

In other words, all I want to be is the Jane Austen of south Alabama

Harper Lee
Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.

Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.

Harper Lee
I didn't know how you were going to do it, but from now on I'll never worry about what'll become of you, son, you'll always have an idea.

I didn't know how you were going to do it, but from now on I'll never worry about what'll become of you, son, you'll always have an idea.

Harper Lee
You can pet him, Mr. Arthur. He's asleep...

You can pet him, Mr. Arthur. He's asleep...

Harper Lee
Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.

Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.

Harper Lee
Long ago, in a burst of friendliness, Aunty and Uncle Jimmy produced a son named Henry…

Long ago, in a burst of friendliness, Aunty and Uncle Jimmy produced a son named Henry…

Harper Lee
Don’t push her. Let her go at her own speed. Push her and every mule in the county’d be easier to live with.

Don’t push her. Let her go at her own speed. Push her and every mule in the county’d be easier to live with.

Harper Lee
I just thought you'd like to know I can read. You got anything needs readin' I can do it.

I just thought you'd like to know I can read. You got anything needs readin' I can do it.

Harper Lee
When stalking one’s prey, it is best to take one’s time. Say nothing, and as sure as eggs he will become curious and emerge.

When stalking one’s prey, it is best to take one’s time. Say nothing, and as sure as eggs he will become curious and emerge.

Harper Lee
Nothing is more deadly than a deserted, waiting street.

Nothing is more deadly than a deserted, waiting street.

Harper Lee
Go away, the old buildings said. There is no place for you here. You are not wanted. We have secrets.

Go away, the old buildings said. There is no place for you here. You are not wanted. We have secrets.

Harper Lee
I was taught never to take advantage of anybody who was less fortunate than myself, whether he be less fortunate in brains, wealth, or social position; it meant anybody...

I was taught never to take advantage of anybody who was less fortunate than myself, whether he be less fortunate in brains, wealth, or social position; it meant anybody...

Harper Lee