Harper Lees ‘To kill a Mockingbird’ is a timeless classic about race in America during the 1920s and 1930s. It portrays the story that was lived so long ago, by so many people. It is a story that teaches us all certain moral lessons and realities.
Most people across the world had a difficult time in the 1930s. In the autumn of 1929, the stock market had collapsed. This crash heralded the beginning of the Great Depression, which would endure in the United States until the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Global commerce has collapsed by 50%, and unemployment in the United States has risen to 23%. Construction has been stopped, and agricultural prices have plummeted. This was also true for a little community named Maycomb, Alabama.
In this settlement, we meet the main character, Jean Louise Finch, also known as ‘Scout.’ The primary character is a little girl who is introduced to the reality of Jim Crow period racial injustice. She is a young, yet an intelligent young lady. She could read before she started school and was one of the brightest students in her class.
In the first few chapters, the reader is introduced to the world of the 1930s, learning about class structure and the positions of various factions. You gradually but progressively learn about the world in which Scout and her brother Jem grow up. You learn about their childhood escapades and who lives in the neighborhood. And, at first, the tale seemed to revolve around this childhood. It appears to be about Scout, her brother, and a strange neighbor named Boo Radley, however the Boo Radley storyline isn’t the major one.
The major plot is disclosed halfway through the book. Scout is the daughter of Atticus Finch, a lawyer, and he has a fresh court case. Atticus is charged with defending Tom Robinson, an African American accused of raping a white girl. Atticus is one of the few people in Maycomb who would stand up for an African American and try to live true to the promises of the American Declaration of Independence.
The major story is told in this section of the book. Scout is confronted with the harsh realities of the 1930s in this chapters. Atticus worked hard to prove Tom’s innocence, but never in a million years would a black man walk free from the charge of raping a white girl. It demonstrates that even the lowest ranks of whites, literally white trash, were thought to be more superior people than upright and virtuous African Americans. At least, that’s what the tale implies.
As a result, the narrative offers a critique of this dark period in American history. This book is nearly entirely concerned with the topic of race in America, as well as the inequalities that it entails. I’m not sure why the author, Harper Lee (1926-2016), opted to do this, but the novel was published in the 1960s. During this time, the Civil Rights Movement raged in America, with protests filling the streets and Martin Luther King spoke of his ideal. And, like Scout, the author was born and raised in the South during the 1920s and 1930s, and, like Atticus Finch, she studied law. So maybe it is her way of coming to terms with the reality in which she was raised, but this is pure speculation.
Yay or nay
This book is enjoyable to read. Because it contains some gloomy parts, it might be difficult at times. However, this adds realism to the tale. I’ve read a little about this time period, and the book appears to depict a scenario that may have happened. A narrative that most likely occurred several times between the abolition of slavery in 1865 and the success of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. As a result, I believe the tale is authentic. Nonetheless, because it is fiction and not history, it contains certain factual errors.
I also believe the narrative attempts to teach the reader something. For example, Atticus Finch states, ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’ This is exactly what Scout attempts and learns to accomplish during the Boo Radley narrative. Another valuable lesson from Atticus is that ‘The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.’ This is, of course, quite correct; things are not good or acceptable just because the law or the majority of people say so. Good or bad is subjective, and everyone must make this judgment for themselves, since in the end, you must live with the decisions you made or did not make.Next to the wise lessons and the closeness to reality
final but not least. One may argue that the book was not written difficulty. If it weren’t for the difficult chapters and moral mind breakers, one could easily consume the entire tale in one read. In addition, the reader can see and feel Scout’s evolution and growth throughout the tale, from an innocent kid to a girl who is aware of life’s inconsistencies. So, in the end, this book is easy to read, has depth, moral teachings, and a fantastic plot. As a result, I feel that this work should unquestionably be read.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), 60th Anniversary Edition
Written by Harper Lee (1926-2016)
309 pages. Arrow Books