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.
I have not seen a review yet about this novel that actually starts from the beginning of the entire novel so here goes.
This novel was set in a time where Black people where treated very differently to today to sum what this novel is about.
It is narrated by Scout who is about 6 years old. It begins with a boy named Dill. That is when this story starts who questions the Boo Radley house. Straight away you can see the assumptions they make on the man and the stories they make up. So judgemental. When Scout’s teacher tells her off for her ‘father’ teaching her how to read ‘improperly’ uhm, if a parent wants to teach their child they can! It isn’t their child now is it.
Then the main plot of this novel, the case of Tom Robinson is in court and Scout’s father Atticus Finch is Tom’s defence lawyer. Tom is a black man accused of raping a young white woman. This is a time where colour still matters too much. Attics describes it as the ‘most enduring fictional image of racial heroism’ as he describes it to Scout so she can grow up to see that all people should be treated equally.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it”
It is really interesting to see her point of view of how she views people and their behaviour. There is an innocence to it as she is young so she sees it for what it is, honest and simple.
“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for”
I enjoyed the fact Calpurnia is black and she’s their house keeper and the fact that she took Scout and her brother Jem to a coloured church.
As the plot thickens as a reader I became excited when the court case set in (around after 100 pages) as the reader you can feel the rise in tension and excitement. The narrative changes mainly to focus on Jem and Atticus as they are more aware of the risks and importance of the case.
The last third of the novel as it comes to an end it shows the aftermath and the effects it had on each class and race. It is brave and difficult to stand up for what you believe in especially in today’s day and age.
Atticus has many qualities as a man he’s patient, clever, a gentlemen but not the standard typical masculine qualities as he is not physically strong, hates violence and does not use strong language. However in contrast his sister Alexandra is very traditional for a woman as she tries to get Scout to behave more like a lady.
Overall, this novel is well known and recommended for many good reasons and has such a range of diverse characters. I may have originally read this in school however I did not remember much of the detail until I recently read this to give my full perspective. I really enjoyed the way Atticus was giving life advise to his children and the things they have learned along the way.