To Kill a Mockingbird is the kind of novel that everyone has heard about, but not everyone has read and so I felt it was time for me to do so. And I absolutely fell in love with it.
Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Publisher: Arrow Books
Published: July 11th 1960
No. of Pages: 309'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'
A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition. -(Goodreads)
5 stars: Page the bird salutes this book, and starts
flying with joy.
I fall more and more in love with classics each day. They've gone from books I found hard to be intrigued by, to ones that seem to be the only thing I can find myself getting enraptured reading these days. To Kill a Mockingbird has been lingering around on my shelf for a while, my fingers itching to pick it up. A week ago I relented and begun reading, and soon found myself with such a fervent admiration for it I seriously considered deciding then and there I would call my future children Scout and Jem.
To Kill A Mockingbird lays the world bare through the unblemished eyes of a child, portraying the socially primitive attitudes of the 1930s with such clarity not many can achieve. With it comes a brilliant commentary upon the irrationality society back then was steeped in, yet Lee is careful to deliver it simply, but powerfully. Almost in the same way only a child can; it's irrefutable that Scout is very much alive in these pages.
The smallest of the details in a highly prejudiced world are drawn to your attention, exploited and questioned by a child's faith in such a way they cannot be ignored. The result is eloquent and poignant, filled with questions about the blind ignorance of society not just towards others but towards themselves. How is it such an 'advanced' world can claim it fair to judge someone simply on the colour of their skin? Scout and Jem's bemusement at such decrees exposes the truth; that there can never be any justification for such an insipid attempt at superiority, and never will there be an excuse for the bitter fear that accompanies difference. Thus such a book continues to strike me with it's raw quality, with the barely understood pain in the answer to each of Scout's questions and the moral battles both siblings constantly have to fight to prevail in a town insistent on them conforming to its standards.
The innocent perspective of To Kill a Mockingbird is to me what helps it transform into a humbling tale, for it is an emphatic reminder of the need to view our world not just within our own mindset, as many are prone to doing. Presently, it is still a pertinent illustration of the constant struggle between good and evil that occurs at all points in time. As relevant about the 1930s as it is now, the mockingbirds of this novel serve as living metaphors for the corruption of good, as well as welcome reminders this does not necessarily mean they are now evil themselves. This is similar to the tones of hope and change scattered throughout the novel, found in people like Atticus, Judge Taylor, Miss Maudie, Boo Radley and most of all Jem and Scout.
It's with them that my faith in humanity is carried on, each time the smallest of freedoms is torn away and each time ignorance and hatred seem to prevail. Atticus particularly is a moral constant in the novel, a reassuring figure that someone in the small town of Maycomb is willing to see the irrationality of the racism that will plague Tom Robinson's trial, and will try no matter what it costs him to provide the highest defence. He also proves to challenge not only the quick thoughts of his children, but those of the reader too as he provides an optimistic outlook on every man or woman he comes across, striving to make us see what a single glance will not betray. As Jem and Scout grow and see more of the world for what it truly is, there is not one person better than Atticus to guide them through it and the entirety of what is such an eminent story proves that.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel I know I will find myself revisiting as the years go by. For now, I am still very much a 'Scout' who is fascinated by the themes this novel, but as I grow older and see more of the world, I wonder how my thoughts on this book will change. I certainly think it will be very intriguing to see.