After a successful, impactful and humble life, 89-year-old Harper Lee died in her sleep on Friday morning.
Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” sparked conversation about racial divide in the South during the bubbling political climate of the early 1960s. Now a staple for many school reading lists, her writing will live on in the minds of younger generations, forcing us to remember and question how we are treating our neighbors — an issue that is and will likely continue to be relevant in modern society.
Harper Lee lived as a recluse for the majority of her life, similar to her humble, misunderstood and heroic character Boo Radley. Although Lee had supposedly been working on a sequel throughout her life, she never expressed any plans to publish it. However, “Go Set a Watchman” was released last year in July, creating a moral debate of whether her old age was taken advantage of to publish a book she might not have wanted released.
While Lee avoided fame and lived a simple life, her painfully realistic account of racism in the early 20th-century South is incredibly well-known, and it will live on in future generations with a narrative that remains relevant in all centuries and decades. Lee reminds us of the importance of understanding our peers, no matter how they might differ from us or appear to be undeserving of empathy.
Here are eight of the most wise and poignant quotes that are immortalized in her writings:
1. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ... until you climb around in his skin and walk around in it.” — To Kill a Mockingbird
2. “You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ‘em get your goat. Try fightin’ with your head for a change.” — To Kill a Mockingbird
3. “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” — To Kill a Mockingbird
4. “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.” — To Kill a Mockingbird
5. “Every man’s island, Jean Louise, every man’s watchman, is his conscience. There is no such thing as a collective conscious.” — Go Set a Watchman
6. “Remember this also: It’s always easy to look back and see what we were, yesterday, ten years ago. It is hard to see what we are. If you can master that trick, you’ll get along.” — Go Set a Watchman
7. “There are just some kind of men who — who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” — To Kill a Mockingbird
8. “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” — To Kill A Mockingbird