Friday, October 4, 2013

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Review

"Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South ― and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred.

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, served as the basis of an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. 

A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father ― a crusading local lawyer ― risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime."

Oh, boo! Radley. (Get it?) Anyway, To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the most dreaded books to read in high school (not to mention Lord of the Flies, which I will never reviewed because I already read it a long time ago. I don't review books I read a long time ago unless people ask me politely). Most students wouldn't even read the first page of the book, for the fear of reading a dull and obnoxious books. (Like Treasure Island [I fell asleep on that one]). After 50 years plus after the date of publishing, I'm confused why To Kill A Mockingbird would be on the list of required reading. (And hey, lazy high school kids? I might slip some answers you're looking for in your direction.)

Even though the main character is Scout Finch, we are focused on Atticus Finch, who is Scout's somewhat distant father. Scout's mother died when she was younger, therefore only briefly mentioned by Scout. Cal, the Finch's housekeeper, fills in the role. Scout is used to the racial slurs and bad words and the gossip that surrounds the town. Although Scout is used to the areas and words of Maycomb, she's quite ignorant in the ways of the Great Depression. (I suspect she knows nothing about it.)

The term "Mockingbird" is first mentioned by Atticus Finch to mentions something along the line that to kill mockingbird is a sin. However, it was Miss. Maurie who actually explained the meaning of the mockingbird in full terms. (I believe that's somewhere in part one.) To kill a mockingbird is to destroy the goodness and beauty of _____. Obviously, the mockingbird is a symbol of a person, but whom is the question? There's several candidates for the role. The major players in line are Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. Tom, because he did nothing but help a white women do her chores out of the sorry and goodness from his heart. (Robinson died in the end). And Boo, who gave the children (Jem and Scout) gifts and protected them when they needed him. Atticus Finch also is an excellent candidate for the symbol, but his evidence isn't as big as Robinson's or Radley's. (Don't forget about his last name, Finch, which is a bird. Perhaps another hint-hint from the author?)

As time goes on, we see major changes in Jem, Scout, and Dill. Jem and Scout matures the most in the book. Jem, with his old memories of his lost mother, is somewhat softer and more empathic about other people than Scout. He's able to understand other people, which makes him more mature in ways that are different from Scout. Dill is the innocent child, the one with penchants for tall tales and ridiculous stories. (Remember, his story of running from home?) Dill is the outsider of the trio. He's not a native to Maycomb so he doesn't understand the POV of someone who comes from Maycomb. (Evidence: Jem tries to explain to Dill about the personalities and characteristics of Maycomb citizens in the beginning of To Kill A Mockingbird.)

Then there's Scout, who has the biggest change of all. Remember Walter Cunningham in the beginning of the novel? Remember Scout's distaste and protests about Walter's table manners because she doesn't understand why Walter does that? (Walter, by the way, pours syrup all over his food because syrup is a luxury in his poor family. He's unused to fine food.) By the end of the book, she able to understand Boo's personality and mind. (Boo, by the way, is the most mysterious character pretty much all of Maycomb.) 

Maycomb is a Southern town located in US. Obviously the Civil War made a huge effect on the people and and their children and their children's children. Racism, prejudice, and the no-censorship on any cussing words like "whore lady" are part of Maycom, but is not the biggest part of the novel, other than prejudice, which had a huge effect on the Tom Robinson v. Ewells case. 

I know I went through this book in great detail, but I can't figure out why people like this book so much. 50 years is a long time running, but I don't get why people like To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe because it's the same problem as Scout Finch, the inability to walk in other people's shoes. I don't know why people like To Kill A Mockingbird. To me, this book is a boring waste of time and in depth reading. 

Rating: One out of Five

No comments:

Post a Comment