A NOTE: I know most of y’all won’t read this discussion till the end anyway, so this is an advance congratulations to anybody who really does make it to the end. Also, I may have missed out on few points but this discussion can be given the title ‘overview of important ideas in To Kill A Mockingbird’.
Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Title: To Kill A Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Published: (originally) 1960
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.
M Y R A T I N G: 4/5 STARS.
I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.
-Scout to Jem
A gist of my thoughts:
Even though the beginning was slow, Lee quickly whisks her reader away in the later part. Stunningly realistic and touching, Lee has penned an amazing book. This book sends a lot of messages to the audience reading it, but most importantly, it talks about racial discrimination. Harper Lee describes discrimination on racial identity down south in Alabama during the 1930s so very poignantly that the reader feels that he/she is a part of Maycomb County too. It addresses a lot of themes and throws light on several issues that we still are trying to weed out from today’s society. I feel that, to write a book against a wrong societal belief is, in itself a great task and Lee had achieved it way back in the 1960s when the issue was just beginning to be considered an in just motion. Lee wraps it all up beautifully and gives closure to the book on a hopeful note.
Detailed thoughts: First, I made a pinterest board having quotes, character outlines etc on Pinterest, so have a glance here.
Onto few detailed discussions on themes and characters.
Broad overview:To Kill A Mockingbird had a lot of implications towards feminism, racial equality, justice and liberty. This book touched on the societal point of view and was easy and lucid to read. No wonder that it instantly had an impact right after when it was released. After being banned countless number of times, this book still maintains that aura that dragged people into the world of Maycomb County nearly 60 years ago. In the following three headings, I’m going to be talking about the themes, the characters and parallels that I associate with the various themes this book acknowledged.
- RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN THE 1930s
The whole plot revolves around this main theme. From Atticus who struggles for justice for Tom Robinson, a black man wrongly accused of raping a white girl to the struggle Scout and Jem face in their school comprising of endless taunts of being a supporter of the black people, horrible name-calling and those are only few. The invisible yet distinguishable line between the whites and the blacks in Maycomb County itself depicts the social inferiority that was shoved on the blacks continuously and constantly. By writing a book advocating equality for all races, Lee has surely been a supporter for a better world. Maybe, that’s the reason why this novel is still a widely read masterpiece.
- The Societal View
People viewed Persons of Colour in a different way seeing them as unworthy in Maycomb County. Few were sympathetic but the majority were against Tom and Atticus who was fighting from Tom’s side. This led to the killing of an innocent life and an attempt to take away two little children. The Societal View also comes into the picture when it is about Boo Radley, the neighbour of the Finch household, who stays locked up in his house. The stigma he faces is symbolic of this judgemental society. However, there was an exception for Boo, who was sympathized by the Finch children and eventually comes out to rescue them in the climax.
Scout quietly rebelling against the societal conforms of behaving like a girl produces a strong message of feminism and I can definitely imagine the ripples it would’ve created when it first came out in 1960. Feminism echoes throughout the book through Scout and delivers the message that girls should be treated equally like boys. Atticus stands up for Scout when people in her neighbourhood criticise her for behaving like a boy. This demonstrated how much of a doting father he really was.
Jem, Scout and Dill* are the examples of innocence with Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. Harper Lee wonderfully equates it with the ‘mockingbird’symbolizing innocence and purity. This occurred to me later on after I’d finished the book.
*Dill is this neighbour of the Finch household who visits Maycomb every summer. He befriends Scout and Jem and the first part of the book mostly revolves around their games and darea of touching the so called ‘scary’ Radley house. His character kind of fades away in the end after the the court’s proceedings with Tom.
What I loved about all the characters was how they completed the story. I’m not sure whether I will ever read a book where each and every character had a pivotal role in the making of the plot. Atticus, Scout, Jem, Dill, Boo and Tom all have this side which longs for justice and all of them have a tinge of innocence in them. Here’s a picture from Pinterest that is really sufficient to explain the characters:
Mockingbird : Boo, Scout, Jem, Dill, Tom (innocence)
The Radley house: scary, mysterious, perilous.
Maycomb County: people dwell here, racial discrimination and inequality.
The court: justice, injustice (at times)
Atticus: harnessing justice and symbolises following rules.
Here are few quotes I loved in To Kill A Mockingbird.
You’ll understand folks a little better when you’re older. A mob’s always made of people, no matter what.
It was times like this when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars was the bravest man who ever lived.
Before I can live with other folks, I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by a majority rule is a person’s conscience.
Neighbours bring food with death, and flowers with sickness and little things and little things in between. Boo was our neighbour. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain and a pair of good luck pennies and our lives. But neighbours give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it. We had given him nothing and it made me sad.
And that’s it. Hope y’all liked reading this review/discussion (that is if you were not bored out of your wits) Congratulations to those who’ve made it to the end of this discussion!
Until next time,