Harper Lee quotes

  • You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Positivity #Sunshine #Views

  • Southern lawyers don't read novels much.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Southern #Lawyer #Novel

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

    #People #Looks

  • I've been writing as long as I've been able to form words. I never wrote with an idea of publishing anything until I began working on '[To Kill a] Mockingbird'. I think that what went before may have been a rather subconscious form of learning how to write, of training myself.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Writing #Thinking #Ideas

  • Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Wisdom #Heart #Garden

  • People who write for reward by way of recognition or monetary gain don't know what they're doing. They're in the category of those who write; they are not writers. Writing is simply something you must do. It's rather like virtue in that it is its own reward. Writing is selfish and contradictory in its terms. First of all, you're writing for an audience of one, you must please the one person you're writing for. Yourself.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Selfish #Writing #People

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

    #Adjectives #Facts

  • Writing is something you'll never learn in any university or at any school. It's something that is within you, and if it isn't there, nothing can put it there.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Writing #School #University

  • Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)... 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

    #God #Men #Hands

  • My objectives are very limited. I want to do the best I can with the talent God gave me. I hope to goodness that every novel I do gets better and better, not worse and worse.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Get Better #Want #Talent

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

    #Gratitude #Appreciation #Reading

  • Dill said striking a match under a turtle was hateful. “How do you know a match don't hurt him?” “Turtles can't feel, stupid,” said Jem. “Where you ever a turtle, huh?
    -- Harper Lee

    #Hurt #Stupid #Turtles

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

    #Boys #Want #Company

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

    #Routine #Unbearable

  • Writing is a process of self-discipline you must learn before you can call yourself a writer. There are people who write, but I think they're quite different from people who must write.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Writing #Thinking #Self

  • 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

    #Morning #Night #Light

  • I didn't expect the book to sell in the first place. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of reviewers but at the same time I sort of hoped that maybe someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I'd expected.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Encouragement #Book #Hands

  • It's not time to worry yet
    -- Harper Lee

    #Worry

  • As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to others, and don't think you are the most important being on earth. Rich or poor, you then can look anyone in the eye and say, 'I'm probably no better than you, but I'm certainly your equal.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Inspiring #Growing Up #Eye

  • 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

    #Inspirational #Courage #Perseverance

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

    #Empathy #Proud #Tonight

  • It's not necessary to tell all you know.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Calpurnia

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

    #Father #Missing

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

    #Brother #Broken #Elbows

  • 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

    #Jobs #Father #Men

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

    #Thinking #Prejudice #Kind

  • I do much of my creative thinking while golfing. If people know you're working at home they think nothing of walking in for a cup of coffee, but wouldn't dream of interrupting on the golf course.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Dream #Coffee #Home

  • 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

    #Trying #Ems #Goats

  • You rarely win, but sometimes you do.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Winning #Sometimes #Mockingbird

  • 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.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Real #Gun #Men

  • 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

    #Son #Wish #Ems

  • Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Writing #Salt #Please

  • 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

    #Good Luck #Two #Broken

  • It's better to be silent than to be a fool.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Fool #Silent

  • There's no substitute for the love of language, for the beauty of an English sentence. There's no substitute for struggling, if a struggle is needed, to make an English sentence as beautiful as it should be.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Beautiful #Struggle #Language

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

    #Pride #People #Mind

  • Now...in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, ipods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Book #Ipods #Phones

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

    #Simple #Men #Pay

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

    #Law #Special #Littles

  • I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Wise #Writing #Careers

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

    #Knowing #Born

  • 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

    #Hurt #Thinking #Names

  • Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it. And, Oprah, can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up — some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Book #Heart #Years

  • 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

    #Children #Sake #Adults

  • Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood,
    -- Harper Lee

    #Book #Long #Alive

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

    #Years #Born

  • 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

    #Girl #Thinking #Skills

  • Things are never as bad as they seem.
    -- Harper Lee

  • As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, he is trash.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Black And White #Men #Racism

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

    #Giving #Trying #Ems

  • Things are always better in the morning.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Morning #Optimistic #Positivity

  • Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. 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 frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There's no hurry, for there's nowhere to go and nothing to buy...and no money to buy it with.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Sweet #Morning #Tired

  • Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Flower #Good Luck #Two

  • If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other? If they're all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time. It's because he wants to stay inside.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Thinking #House #Way

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

    #Joy #Curiosity #Anticipation

  • Summer, and he watches his children's heart break. Autumn again and Boo's children needed him. 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

    #Summer #Children #Heart

  • 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

    #Dad #Father #War

  • summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screeneed porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat;it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Summer #Sleep #Color

  • 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

    #Writing #Self #Salt

  • I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told. I hadn’t realized it (the original book) had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation, I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Book #Years #People

  • Let the dead bury the dead.
    -- Harper Lee

  • Mutual defiance made them alike.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Made #Defiance #Mutual

  • I don't hafta take his sass
    -- Harper Lee

    #Sass

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

    #Remember #Sin #Mockingbird

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

    #Waiting #Streets

  • Now that I was compelled to think about it, reading was something that just came to me, as learning to fasten the seat of my union suit without looking around, or achieving two bows from a snarl of shoelaces.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Reading #Thinking #Two

  • If this thing's hushed up it'll be a simple denial to Jem of the way I've tried to raise him. 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.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Eye #Simple #Thinking

  • I shall never marry, Atticus." "Why?" "I might have children.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Children #Might

  • I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house; and that he'd rather I'd shoot at tin cans in the backyard. But he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted - if I could hit 'em; but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Gun #Blue #Daddy

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

    #Ugly #Facts #Facts Of Life

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

    #Blue #Want #Ems

  • I had never thought about it, but summer was Dill by the fishpool smoking string, Dill's eyes alive with complicated plans to make Boo Radley emerge; summer was the swiftness with which Dill would reach up and kiss me when Jem was not looking, the longings we sometimes felt each other feel. With him, life was routine; without him, life was unbearable..." - Scout Finch
    -- Harper Lee

    #Summer #Eye #Kissing

  • ...but sometimes we have to make the best of things, and the way we conduct ourselves when the chips are down...
    -- Harper Lee

    #Way #Sometimes #Chips

  • Finders were keepers unless title was proven.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Titles #Keepers

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

    #Want #Way

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

    #Shoes #Walks #Persons

  • She's an old lady and she's ill. You just hold your head high and be a gentleman. Whatever she says to you, it's your job not to let her make you mad.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Jobs #Mad #Gentleman

  • Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Sweet #Naps #Sweat

  • Hey, Mr. Cunningham. How's your entailment gettin' along?
    -- Harper Lee

    #Hey #Cunninghams #Mockingbird

  • We’re so rarely called on to be Christians, but when we are, we’ve got men like Atticus to go for us.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Christian #Men

  • Ladies pick funny things to be proud of.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Funny Things #Proud #Be Proud

  • ...but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Mockingbird #Kill A Mockingbird #Folks

  • 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

    #People #Peculiar #Conclusion

  • Sometimes the Bible in the hands of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hands of another.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Men #Hands #Bottles

  • This time we aren't fighting the Yankees, we're fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things get, they're still our friends and this is still our home.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Home #Fighting #Yankees

  • Best way to clear the air is to have it all out in the open.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Air #Way #Clear

  • I like to write. Sometimes I'm afraid that I like it too much because when I get into work I don't want to leave it. As a result I'll go for days and days without leaving the house or wherever I happen to be. I'll go out long enough to get papers and pick up some food and that's it. It's strange, but instead of hating writing I love it too much.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Hate #Writing #Long

  • The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Men #Squares #Color

  • I have nothing but gratitude for the people who made the film. It was a most unusual experience. I'm no judge, and the only film I've ever seen made was Mockingbird, but there seemed to be an aura of good feeling on the set. I went out and looked at them filming a little of it, and there seemed to be such a general kindness, perhaps even respect, for the material they were working with. I was delighted, touched, happy, and exceedingly grateful.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Gratitude #Kindness #Grateful

  • You know, many writers really don't like to write. I think this the chief complaint of so many. They hate to write; they do it under the compulsion that makes any artist the victim he is, but they loathe the process of sitting down trying to turn thoughts into reasonable sentences.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Hate #Writing #Thinking

  • Naturally, you don't sit down in "white hot inspiration" and write with a burning flame in front of you. But since I knew I could never be happy being anything but a writer, and Mockingbird put itself together for me so accommodatingly, I kept at it because I knew it had to be my first novel, for better or for worse.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Inspiration #Writing #Flames

  • My father is one of the few men I've known who has genuine humility, and it lends him a natural dignity. He has absolutely no ego drive, and so he is one of the most beloved men in this part of the state.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Father #Humility #Men

  • It's quite a thing, if you've never been in or known a small southern town. The people are not particularly sophisticated, naturally. They're not worldly wise in any way. But they tell you a story whenever they see you.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Wise #People #Southern

  • When a man spends his relief checks on green whiskey his children have a way of crying from hunger pains.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Children #Pain #Men

  • My book had a universal theme. It's not a "racial" novel. It portrays an aspect of civilization, not necessarily Southern civilization.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Book #Civilization #Southern

  • I think I'll be a clown when I get grown.... There ain't one thing in this world I can do about folks except laugh, so I'm gonna join the circus and laugh my head off.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Thinking #Laughing #World

  • As I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Education #Believe #School

  • Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up - some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Heart #Darkness #Pages

  • Characters make their own plot. The dimensions of the characters determine the action of the novel.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Writing #Character #Dimensions

  • Folks don't like to have somebody around knowing more than they do.
    -- Harper Lee

    #Knowing #Folks