To Kill a Mockingbird – Book Review

Written by– Harper Lee; Publisher– Arrow Books; Genre– Fiction; Pages– 309

A classic novel from the 1930s, during the period of Great Depression. Set in Maycomb in Alabama. Apart from having a unique storyline, it has been beautifully written by Harper Lee. It involves a father, Atticus and his two children, a girl and a boy Scout and Jem. Although it isn’t practically mentioned but from my opinion, it is a combination of two stories gracefully blending together in the end. It begins with both of siblings looking back at their past and they start off by discussing Jem’s present condition. Moving on, they remember having a special visit during their summer break, Dill and that’s when “The idea of making Boo Radley (their neighbour) came out”. There had been a lot of weird rumors about Radley circulating in the entire society. Scout is the main character and we are usually made to look through at situations from her point of view. Her opinions are entirely transparent to the readers. Although still pretty young, she is really mature and leaves the readers in awe at how she deals with situations even smartly than her elder brother. Her witty remarks really made her stand out from the crowd. One such incident being when she was standing in cold outside, acknowledging the damaged house of her neighbor that caught fire, and someone laid a blanket on her shoulders. Although that person was never seen, Scout was sure it was Arthur Radley (or Boo Radley)

In the other part (as I’d like to say), Atticus being a lawyer, this part is entirely based upon one case that he got. Although being a lawyer, Atticus wasn’t very rich, primarily either because America was facing a downfall in it’s economy, or maybe because his clients were from lower class in society and were not so rich. Nevertheless he was very opinionated and a wise father who taught his children a lot. One of the most iconic lines from the novel, he taught them to “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit them. But remember, it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”. He teaches them so as Mockingbirds are very innocent creatures and all they do is entertain people by singing. Here, Mockingbird is symbolic of Black Community who were inhumanely oppressed by the Whites at that time. Atticus had to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, who was charged for the rape of a white girl, Mayella Ewell. While this book focuses upon discrimination of people of colour living under majority of white community, it also highlights the children’s point of view upon acknowledging racism for the first time. The white community entirely disregarded Atticus and his children. Bob Ewell, father of Mayella, especially, hated Atticus from the bottom of his heart. Atticus and both this children started facing inappropriate behavior towards them, even from their distant family members such as their aunt and Atticus’ sister, Alexandra. Scout failed to make any friends at school. Calpurnia, upon realising their sadness and helpless situation, took them to her (black people’s) church where they were welcomed with open arms. Even while seeing their father’s trial at court, they were seated with the People Of Colour. Although Atticus fought diligently, somewhere in his heart he was unsure if they would even win as there was a lot of racism towards people of colour at that time so he knew the judgement passed could be biased. Atticus was even warned by Bob, that his children would be killed if he didn’t back off from the case. They were certainly attacked but it was then, when the most unexpectedly expected person saved them. Atticus has also taught his children that before judging anyone, try looking at the world through that person’s perspective, their entire opinion would change.

I would like to give this book a 8/10 because although the storyline and each of the character’s role was marvellous, I didn’t like the use of some words which are pretty harsh towards the black community. Although, not intentionally, they seem to leave a big impact upon the readers leaving them uneducated to cultural appropriation.

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