Is there a more iconic novel than To Kill a Mockingbird? The story is read in nearly every classroom across America and its message of tolerance and acceptance still resonates more than 50 years after its publication.
Written by Harper Lee, To Kill the Mockingbird tells the story of the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama and a scandal that divides its residents. Jean Louise “Scout” Finch narrates the tale, which simultaneously chronicles her friendship with Boo Radley and the murder trial her father Atticus Finch is a part of.
My favorite line in the novel occurs when Scout watches her father defend Tom Robinson. Everyone leaves the court room except for the black citizens. Atticus remains behind and as he leaves, a man says the following to Scout: “Miss. Jean Louise, stand up. You’re father’s passing.”
Now in the main scheme of things, this quote doesn’t have a huge baring on the plot, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t give me chills every time I heard it. It’s a testament to Atticus’ character and his reputation in the town. He’s fighting a losing battle and he knows it, but Atticus doesn’t take on Tom’s case because he knows he will win. He does it because its the right thing to do.
The line is an excellent example of Lee saying so much in so few words. Its truly astounding that Lee only wrote one book. But I guess when you had your say, there’s no need to continue writing.