In To Kill A Mockingbird which two lines have created the greatest impact on you? Why?In To Kill A Mockingbird which two lines have created the greatest impact on you? Why?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1.  In Chapter 19 during his questioning at his trial, Tom Robinson responds to the questions about his being at the Ewells place.  Tom, honest and forthright, answers.  When Mr. Gilmer asks him why he helped Mayella without being paid, he candidly says,

I felt right sorry for her, she seemed to try more'n the rest of em--

Of course, too late Tom realizes his social faux pas.  This answer shows Tom to be a true Christian, one who loves without condition.  Here he is on trial for something he has not done, and will most likely be accused because he is a "Negro."  And, it is his Christian charity for which the hypocritical prosecutor attacks him, "You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for her?"

2.  In Chapter 10 a mad dog walks down the street near Miss Maudie's house and Atticus, who does not like guns, shoots and kills it.  He gets back into the sheriff's car, telling Jem not to go near the dog.  As he drives away, Miss Maudie asks the children if they still think their father cannot do anything.  When she tells Jem that Atticus was known as "Ol' One Shot," Jem is amazed.  Scout wonders aloud why Atticus never goes hunting now, and Miss Maudies replies,

If your father's anything, he's civilized in his heart.

This phrase, "civilized in his heart" is key to an understanding of the characters in the novel of Harper Lee.





Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The two passages I find the most memorable (as well as the most applicable in real life) might seem strange to most people, but they are my favorites, just the same.

"Hey, Mr. Cunningham."

The man did not hear me, it seemed.

"Hey, Mr. Cunningham.  How's your entailment gettin' along? . . . Entailments are bad."

This demonstration of Scout's great courage amid great innocence has taught me many life lessons, not the least of which is to both say what is in your heart, always put your family first, as well as "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Second, there is something about that mild and not-so-well-remembered conversation Atticus has with Scout about Hitler (of all people) that I just can't seem to forget:

"But it's okay to hate Hitler?"

"It is not," he said.  "It's not okay to hate anybody."

This always brings the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ aptly into my mind, as Jesus asked God to forgive His crucifiers because "they know not what they do."  Atticus acts as a Christ-figure here, telling us not to hate our enemies.  Atticus is able to do this and, I believe, this is what makes him the pinnacle of American morality.  I will admit that I am NOT able to do this (despite how much I love both Atticus AND Jesus), and that is why these two men are so admired and holy in my mind.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I find these two passages very memorable.

From the conclusion of the novel, Scout falls asleep as she sits in Jem's room with her father after Jem has been injured by Bob Ewell:

I willed myself to stay awake, but the rain was so soft and the room was so warm and his voice was so deep and his knee was so snug that I slept.

I love this passage because it captures the warmth, love, and security that come from having a loving parent. This is one of many of Scout's memories that take me back to my own childhood. 

This second passage makes up part of the disagreement between Heck Tate and Atticus after Boo Radley has killed Bob Ewell in saving the children's lives. Heck makes it clear that Boo will not be named in the incident:

I may not be much, Mr. Finch, but I'm still sheriff of Maycomb County and Bob Ewell fell on his knife.

The basic goodness in Heck Tate impresses me. He protected Boo from public scrutiny. In doing so, he may not have followed the exact procedure of the law, but he followed his conscience and made sure no further injustice was done.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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