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'To Kill a Mockingbird' Puts No. 2 Pencil to the Test

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'To Kill a Mockingbird' Puts No. 2 Pencil to the Test

Diversions

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Puts No. 2 Pencil to the Test

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Puts No. 2 Pencil to the Test

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/10905984/10905987" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

For more than a month, Keith Eldred of Pennsylvania has been testing a fun "fact" printed in May's Discover magazine: that a standard yellow pencil could write 45,000 words.

The test? To transcribe To Kill a Mockingbird using just one pencil. The novel by Harper Lee has about 90,000 words.

Eldred put pencil to paper on May 4, and he just finished, with help from a group of volunteers.

The last words from the novel written with Eldred's pencil refer to the character Atticus Finch: "He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning."

John Ydstie finds out how the test went.

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