Saturday, October 15, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird - A Review

To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


It's gonna be hard to keep this short! If only I could give this more than 5 stars...



"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.


Reading this I went, 'Ok... Sounds like something heavy an advice.' It's meaning sets in only when you came towards the end of the book albeit you understand it's significance long before.


The story is narrated by a 6 year old girl, Jean-Louise Finch aka Scout. Scout, along with her brother Jem (Jeremy Atticus Finch) and their friend Dill (Charles Baker Harris), bring to us this tale. It is fascinating to see it through the eyes of children about the two strong issues in this book: Rape and Racial discrimination. Scout and Jem's father, Atticus Finch, a lawyer by profession, is the defender for a negro, Tom, who was been accused by a white family of rape.


The family lives in a small town, Maybcomb. It is described as a cosy, quiet place. The story begins with Jem and Scout meeting Dill. They become friends and as all little children, creatively indulge in their plays. Their summer days are described in the most innocent and beautiful manner. I couldn't help but smile at it all. Little things that kids do, and the meanings and reasons they put behind it- it's just fascinating!


The story steadily gets on to the serious topic of rape, where Scout asks, What is rape? She was 8 then. The trial as witnessed by the children is presented in the most emotional and energetic manner. The courtroom tension, anticipation all got to me. And when Dill started crying seeing how a white treats a colored man, saying, 'It's sick!, you see the simplicity of the situation naked. That a child having understood that there is no absolute reason in racial discrimination and yet there they were, all the adults, insulting the negros.


As Atticus says, 'They've done it before and they'll do it again and when they do it -- seems that only the children weep'


It isn't just the main plot of the story that is great. The lives of Jem and Scout, are so described that I saw my own childhood in there. The relationship shared between the brother and sister is very much like I share (or shared) with my own elder brother. However, I felt Jem and Scout were more lucky than I was, for having learned the lessons of life practically. Where they are supposed to read to their neighbor because they damaged her front garden... Where another neighbor of their's, Miss Maudie's house is on fire... The trial of course... Their little plays of Boo Radley and most of all their ability to reason out things with questions. Another part which I hold close is of Scout being forced to be a 'lady' by her aunt. Being in my twenties, I face the same issue (even now yeah!).

"Ladies in bunches always filled me with a vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere"
- Scout

To Kill a Mockingbird, is a rare book. It's actually one of it's kind! This book has given me back the wonderful memories of my childhood. It has reminded me of the way I saw life as a kid. As much as I love the life I lead now, it was a pleasure to get a peek of the past once. For the past directs the present and the future.

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