Skip to main content

10 TKAM Quotes that Show Harper Lee was the Queen of Empathy

By February 19, 2016February 19th, 2018Authors, Quotations

Harper Lee (Apr 28th 1926 – 19th Feb 2016) was an American author best known for her anti racism novel To Kill a Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird transcends the years and rings as true today as it did when it was written. If Harry Potter has made today’s children more empathetic and caring – as studies suggest – then it was Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird that gave me my first taste of humility and empathy as a child.

It is maybe telling that until more recently than I would like to care to admit, I believed Harper Lee to be a black woman, and this speaks volumes of the empathy and understanding that comes through in her iconic work. I’d like to think there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t read the book, but if not then at least these quotes should give you some insight into what a wonderful novel it is.

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

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

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 see it through no matter what.

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.

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, that white man is trash.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Thank you, Ms Lee, for To Kill a Mockingbird, and for my hero Scout, who as a child I pretended to be many times in situations I thought that she would be braver than I.


To Kill a Mockingbird (US)
To Kill a Mockingbird (UK)

Leave your vote

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.