Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is by far one of the most beautiful stories you must read. The book deals with two of the biggest problems faced in southern America during the depression – Racism and Bigotry. It is a novel told through the perspective of a six-year-old girl named Jean Louis Finch (Scout). It is through her we learn about her father Atticus Finch, an attorney who, in vain, tries to prove the innocence of Tom Robinson, a black man unjustly accused of rape; and also about the town’s phantom, Boo Radley, a neighbor who saves Scout and her brother Jem from being killed.
The events that take place throughout the story prove to be a major contrast to the innocent voice of the narrator. It is a powerful portrayal provided by Harper Lee on the happenings of that time period. The guilty verdict of Tom Robinson’s trial and the vengefulness of Bob Ewell, the accuser, are some of the events that show us the evil side of human nature and threatens the childhood innocence present in the novel.
Apart from the well written plot and the wonderful characters, it is the symbolism of the mockingbird that brings this story together. As Atticus Finch says, “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.” The mockingbird is a representation of everything that is innocent and helpless. And to destroy innocence would be considered a big sin. Which is why it is a sin to kill a Mockingbird.
From the start till the end, the story takes you on an emotional journey through the fictitious town Maycomb County, Alabama. At each step of the way, we can see Scout questioning her own beliefs as she is faced with the events that occur. She is forced to confront her own prejudices against Boo Radley. Furthermore, the firm racism of her town, the unfair conviction, and murder of Tom Robinson, and the malevolence of Bob Ewell all force Scout to acknowledge the social inequality and the darker aspects of humanity.
Atticus represents morality and justice and helps scout see the world in a more sensitive way. She finally manages to see the effects of his struggle to stay purely good in this compromised world. Along with Scout, we too begin to realise and relate to certain aspects which, in the end, makes us all feel like innocent six year olds again.
Each character you come across will reveal a certain aspect of human nature. Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad. But at the end of the book, just like Scout and Jem realise, it’s vital to hold on to the innocence in us and recognise the same in others. The mockingbirds are what makes us all human.
About the author:
Harper Lee was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She attended Huntington College and studied law at the University of Alabama. She is the author of the acclaimed novels To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and numerous other literary awards and honours. She died on 19 February 2016.
Author(s): Harper Lee
Publisher: Randpm House UK
Release: June 2010 (50th Anniversary edition)
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