“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a classic American novel, written by Harper Lee. I wouldn’t have read it if I wasn’t a Capote fan, just because it is that well known and referenced all over the media. Call me a child, but I still have that thing that teenagers have, when they refuse to like something because it is just too mainstream. Harper Lee was a good friend of Capote, and she even appears in his novel, “In cold blood“, as she helps him with the investigation.
About “To Kill a Mockingbird”
The novel is based on the childhood of Harper Lee. The story follows a young girl, Scout, aged six, her brother, Jem, and a childhood friend Dill, who spends the summers in their old little town, right in the middle of the Great Depression. Scout’s and Jem’s dad, Atticus Finch, is a widowed lawyer, trying his best to raise his children to be upstanding people. He reads with them every night and he manages to give them important moral values to follow.
The three children are fascinated with and terrified by their reclusive neighbor, Arthur Boo Radley. He doesn’t go outside and the adults around them refuse to speak about Boo. That only leads to an even bigger myth to be created around the persona of Boo Radley.
Atticus accepts to defend a young black man, Tom, who is accused of raping a white girl. It is quite the controversial move, and the kids soon find out on their own, being called nigger – lovers and being teased for their father’s actions. As the trial begins, Scout and Jem are faced with the ruthlessness of the society they are growing up in. In the end, even though it is proven that Tom is innocent, the judge rules against him. This breaks Jem’s trust in the legal system and the moral values he has grown up with thanks to his dad.
Even though the trial ends in the young girl’s favor, her dad is not over the fact that he was made a fool of during the trial, and decides to have his revenge on Atticus. On a dark night when Scout and Jem return home from a Halloween party at school, they are attacked by him, only to be saved by Boo Radley. Jem broke his hand and the attacker is killed by Boo. In order to protect Boo’s privacy, the chief of police simply states that the attacker fell on his knife and died.
When reading this novel, I was torn by the antithesis of a child’s view on the corrupt society he grows up in, and the adult’s point of view. It has an innocence that beautifully transcended the pages. I would have been in a loss if I hadn’t read To Kill a Mockingbird, so I urge you to read it ASAP if you haven’t already.