To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
I have been very curious about this book since high school but I never had the chance to actually read it because I always end up picking up another book. Nevertheless, it ended at the bottom pile and stayed there until two weeks ago when I felt compelled to read it before starting on Go Set a Watchman for our book club’s month long discussion for September. A lot of people I know read it during high school for their required reading but my English teachers never assigned us to read this. Also, a lot of people I know liked it. Maybe more on, I don’t know anyone who has read it and hasn’t liked it.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic American literature set during the Great Depression. It narrates a story about the old town of Maycomb through the eyes of six year-old Jean Louis (Scout) Finch. Scout describes her summers spent with her brother, Jem, and Dill, a boy they befriended who stays in Maycomb with his aunt during summers. They are a curious batch and seem intent on discovering the mystery behind Arthur (Boo) Radley, their reclusive neighbor whom no one has seen for a long time.
Their father, Atticus Finch, a widower and one of the town’s lawyers was appointed to defend Tom Robinson, black man,who is charged for raping a white girl. The people of Maycomb are in an uproar and have been following the trial since it first happened. Because of their father’s profession, Jem and Scout were endlessly teased by the other children, calling their father a nigger-lover. The two try their best to ignore the taunting and keep their promise to their father.
Shoot all the bliejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember, it’s a sin to fill a mockingbird.
- I really loved the narration of the story. It was innocent and straightforward. It was weaved with simplicity and was very understandable. There are a lot of societal issues presented in the book. It depicted the setting during the 1930’s America with great clarity which I find very effective. I have mentioned in my previous post that I detested historical fiction because I found it boring, well, I think I may have found the exception.
- Scout was a very vocal little girl. For a young lady her age, growing up during the Great Depression is no joke. There are a lot limitations for children and women, and it was shown how she struggled to be true to herself without gaining the ire of the elders.
- One of the main issues presented in the book is racial injustice. It was very much evident how differently people of color are treated. The case of Tom Robinson was a testament at how people would turn a blind eye for just causes even when presented with hard evidences to claim likewise.
- Social classes. It’s obvious that people of color are treated as lower class citizens but other than that, even the white people are divided into another set of social class. This was presented in the case of the Cunninghams who Scout sees as people poorer than they are.
- Education. Scout was a smart girl. When she started school and showed how advanced she was in her class, she was reprimanded for being literate and was asked that her father try not to teach her anymore. I found this one odd, I was not aware that things like these may have happened in the past. I thought teachers loved bright students since it makes their work lighter.
There are a lot of good points I found in the book. Did I like it? Yes, definitely. It just proved why a lot of people are fond of the novel. I just hoped that I was able to read this before but anyway, it was timely. So I guess I can start with her second book now.