The 30 Day Book Challenge – Day 17

Day 17: Favorite Quote From Your Favorite Book

My favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The novel was in the news quite often last year due to the celebration of it’s 50th anniversary. Earlier this year,the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp honoring Gregory Peck which pictured him in his greatest acting role as Atticus Finch in the movie version. At the beginning of May, a signed copy of the book was sold for over USD $25,000. The story itself contains numerous wonderful quotes.

I am so happy that some of the most memorable passages from the book were repeated almost verbatum in the movie. Indeed, whenever I re-read the novel I can “hear” the voices of the actors in my head as their lines appear on the page. One of my favorites comes at the end of Chapter 27 as Scout, the little-girl narrator, discusses departing for the school’s Halloween pageant:

Jem said he would take me. Thus began our longest journey together.

Due to the build-up throughout the novel, you just know something terrifying will occur sometime during that spooky autumn evening. I still get chills hearing the line, whether in the movie or the book, despite knowing the outcome.

Various other characters utter really nice quote-worthy pieces of dialogue and there’s always portions of Atticus Finch’s courtroom speeches to draw inspiration from. But my favorite quote from the entire book comes at the end of Chapter 21, concluding Tom Robinson’s trial — Reverend Sykes’ declaration to Scout brings tears everytime I read it. I include a lengthy portion preceding the quote as I just love the writing:

What happened after that had a dreamlike quality: In a dream I saw the jury return, moving like underwater swimmers, and Judge Taylor’s voice came from far away and was tiny. I saw something only a lawyer’s child could be expected to see, could be expected to watch for, and it was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun was empty.

A jury never looks at a defendent it has convicted, and when this jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson. The foreman handed a piece of paper to Mr. Tate who handed it to the clerk who handed it to the judge…

I shut my eyes. Judge Taylor was polling the jury: “Guilty… guilty… guilty… guilty…” I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them.

Judge Taylor was saying something. His gavel was in his fist, but he wasn’t using it. Dimly, I saw Atticus pushing papers from the table into his briefcase. He snapped it shut, went to the court reporter and said something, nodded to Mr. Gilmer, and then went to Tom Robinson and whispered something to him. Atticus put his hand on Tom’s shoulder as he whispered. Atticus took his coat off the back of his chair and pulled it over his shoulder. Then he left the courtroom, but not by his usual exit. He must have wanted to go home the short way, because he walked quickly down the middle toward the south exit. I followed the top of his head as he made his way to the door. He did not look up.

Someone was punching me, but I was reluctant to take my eyes from the people below us, and from the image of Atticus’s lonely walk down the aisle.

“Miss Jean Louise?”

I looked around. They were standing. All around us and in the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Sykes’s voice was as distant as Judge Taylor’s:

“Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’.”


Daily Writing Totals:
This Article – 251 words
Total Today — 443 words

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