Article in brief: the author reviews the literature classic “To Kill A Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee.
´Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’
To Kill A Mocking Bird is one of those novels that have never gone out of print, an immediate success that had won it a Pulitzer Prize in 1961. The novel is a classic in modern American literature and a strong example of “Bildungsroman”, a literary genre that revolves around the moral and psychological growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood. Coming of age is the main focus in this genre and To Kill A Mocking Bird is a vital example.
The story takes place during the Great Depression (1930’s) in a small fictional town in Alabama called Maycomb. It is told through the point of view of a six years old Jean Louise Finch (Scout). Scout lives with her widowed middle aged father Atticus who works as a lawyer and older brother Jem.
When I first started reading the novel I hated it a little bit. The story, despite being told by a six year old, made Scout sound like an adult and I wasn’t sure if that was intentional or not. Throughout the book the protagonist used words that are probably unknown to six years old children. The other thing that annoyed me was the abrupt start of the novel. I did not know whether the protagonist was male or female, a child or an adult and I did not know the name of the character until almost the end of the first chapter. Going through the novel I realised it was written from the protagonist’s point of view during the time she was six, which later on made lots of sense to me. As for the abrupt beginning of the book, I came to understand how realistic this was. The novel imitates real life in being random and not having a convincing beginning or ending, and I now believe this to be brilliant.
The novel discusses themes like racial inequality and rape that definitely were controversial during the 1960’s. However, this does not mean the novel isn’t humorous and warm. Atticus Finch, the protagonist’s father, served as a model of integrity and justice in standing up for a black man and not caring when people turned against him. Harper Lee had written Atticus so well, she shaped him into a hero, a noble righteous lawyer and a loving father.
Throughout the book I found myself respecting and loving Atticus Finch. The only thing I did not like much was the lack of descriptions. Personally, it felt like walking in absolute darkness, but I still enjoyed reading it. A must read indeed! I genuinely can’t wait to start reading the finally published sequel: Go Set A Watchman.
An avid reader, Maitha has always dreamt of being a recognized novelist and poet. For the last decade she focused on HR as a career, which has taken her away from her dream, but it’s never too late. Her column Pocket full of Books focuses on book reviews and doesn’t necessarily focus on a specific genre.
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