‘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.
This book was on my to-be-read pile for quite some time but I kept putting it to one side: I don’t know why. After deciding to start reading some classics, I pulled it out.
I really enjoyed this story. I think the author has done very well to portray the moral messages intended clearly, and without bias. The story surrounds Atticus Finch and his family and is narrated by the children, Scout and Jem. As a lawyer, Atticus’s focus is the trial of the alleged rape of a white women by a black man. The book handles the subject matter well but still manages to show the reader the sheer scale of racism and stereotype that was rife at that time.
The story has clearly been written to show how a person decides what is right and wrong and how moral values can differ so greatly between individuals. The fact that it is told through the naive eyes of the children gives it a bittersweet element and you almost feel as though you are shielded a little from the horror that is actually happening.
The story is one of self growth, prejudice, moral dilemma and love. It was enjoyable to read (I didn’t rate the film as a representation of the story) and a story that I will read again and again. Because of the complexity of it, I think I would gain something different each time I read it.
A classic that everyone should read at least once.