To Kill a Mockingbird is a story set in the 1930, in the middle of the Great Depression. A time of poverty and unemployment. A time where the American Dream was tested on its credibility. This is the background of a coming-of-age tale through the eyes of Scout, a young girl in the South of America. She lives with her father, a lawyer and widower and her brother. Through Scout’s eyes we see an opaque figure named Boo Radley, which lives next door but was never seen. Rumors are flying around, but her father warns her to keep an open mind.
Another plot involves Tim Robinson, a young black man who is accused of raping a white woman. The father, Atticus, takes on the case because he thinks there has been a miscarriage of justice. In spite of the whole town, mainly the white people who do not appreciate this. Because of that behavior the Scout’s family is welcomed into the black community and she is amazed by the feelings of happiness and togetherness of the poor black community. Atticus proves that the girl Tim Robinson is accused of raping, actually seduced him and the damage to her face was caused by her father, furious about her sleeping with a black man. Despite the evidence at the trial the all white jury convicted Robinson and later he is killed, trying to escape from jail. The girls father, furious on Atticus because of the things Atticus said about him at the trial meets Scout and her brother and it’s obvious he wants some kind of revenge. They are saved however by the mysterious and supposedly dangerous Boo Radley who disarms the father and kills him.
The lesson Scout learns is that the man she was so afraid of appears to be a kind, lonely man because of a mental retardation that makes him look simple. It is important to see people how they are, and not trust your instincts based on prejudice and fear.
What did I think of it?
To kill a mockingbird is a classic from a long time ago. I expected the book to be outdated in a number of ways, but it really isn’t. Italo Calvino said: “A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say”. And that separates I think the classic book from the other books in this year. It has so many layers in it you can read it and every time you will find a new perspective. The heroic Father, going against the stream most people think, the learning curve of the girl, the morality and the way it is written that controversy against race, still very much alive today as it was 54 years ago. No black President is going to change that.
I only knew the title, but didn’t know the book. I’m very glad I took the time to start reading the book. OK, the first 50 pages made me a little impatient. But after that Lee Harper tells a classic story about right and wrong, about white and black, about injustice and tolerance. And those themes are of all ages. I have understood all Harpers layers are being dissected at schools in America where they analyze this book page by page. I understand why that is done, but it is a pity. A book like To kill a mockingbird can also be appreciated by reading it just because it’s a good book. A classic.
Out of 10 points, I would rate this book an eight.