Tuesday, July 11, 2006

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee in 1960. It was a really enjoyable and easy to read. Many people read this book around the tenth grade (but not me). It was also a best seller in its day as well as a source of controversy. I would expect nothing less.

It is easy to see why many American southerners found this book abhorrent. It paints the south of the 1930s as a place fraught with racism. Racism so ingrained in the populace, there was no other way to think. What better way to see the errors of an old community than through the eyes of a child? Even in Scout we hear her offensive comments. She doesn’t know her words are wrong, but she knows the actions of the county are.

The book is narrated by the androgynous Scout Finch (I loved her tomboy attitude!) and thereby focuses on her and the Finch family. Initially, the story seems to be about the children and their obsession with Boo Radley. The shut-in of legend. The town crazy. The never ending subject of gossip. The meat of the story and the source of controversy creeps in. After all, the source of the problem lies with Atticus Finch and is only revealed to the reader as Scout learns about Macomb’s current events.

I appreciated that the book came full circle. Boo Radley may have disappeared (though he was never actually seen) from a part of the book, but there he was, just at the right moment. He came and fulfilled an almost forgotten childhood fantasy. I think it was a perfect ending to the story.

Though To Kill A Mockingbird is clearly not a happy story, it still left me with a good feeling. People learned from their experiences. There is so much potential for Scout and Jem’s future. The reader sees Atticus Finch, a man from an old southern family, with lots of ‘background’ do the right thing, no matter what. Atticus Finch is a good man.

This is an amazing, emotional novel. If you haven’t read it yet, got get it! Even if you have read it, read it again… It’s definitely worth it.

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