Harper Lee quote about seeing from To Kill a Mockingbird - People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for
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People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for
 Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960). copy citation

Context

“He looked suddenly weary; his age was showing, and I thought about what Atticus had said—he and Mrs. Taylor didn't kiss much—he must have been nearly seventy.
«There has been a request,» Judge Taylor said, «that this courtroom be cleared of spectators, or at least of women and children, a request that will be denied for the time being. People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for, and they have the right to subject their children to it, but I can assure you of one thing: you will receive what you see and hear in silence or you will leave this courtroom, but you won't leave it until the whole boiling of you come before me on contempt charges. Mr. Ewell, you will keep your testimony within the confines of Christian English usage, if that is possible. Proceed, Mr. Gilmer.»
Mr. Ewell reminded me of a deaf-mute. I was sure he had never heard the words Judge Taylor directed at him—his mouth struggled silently with them—but their import registered on his face.” source

Meaning and analysis

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