One of Harper Lee’s challenges in To Kill a Mockingbird is to characterize the town of Maycomb. The town is really like a character in its own right, along with all the other characters that make up the book. There is a very nice quote in chapter one that does a good job of introducing the reader to the town:
A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. 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.
From this quotation we get an idea of what life is like for the characters in Maycomb. Life is sleepy, they are poor, and the rest of the world might as well not exist. This is the setting in which Scout and Jem and Dill will grow up and form their views of the world. Atticus, fortunately, exists within this setting. He is able to help the children expand beyond the drowsy borders of Maycomb.
When you look for quotations in books, look for statements that mean something in the story, something that helps the reader understand the characters, or the setting, or the theme, or key parts of the plot. Most books have a number of quotations in every chapter that could be used. It’s easier than you think! Then just ask yourself what this tells you about the story, and that’s your explanation.
Give chapters two and three a try.