I don’t often enjoy classics very much, but To Kill A Mockingbird is such an exemplary piece. Thereby I am hoping to persuade another person to enjoy this heart-breaking narrative through this post.
So, no spoiler ahead.
The theme is racism, and the story takes place in Alabama in 1930s. The story teller is a six-year-old girl named Scout Finch. Scout lives with her brother Jem and their lawyer father, Atticus. 1930s is a period when people are still in many ways deeply affected by cotton days, hence there is an apparent schism between white and black population in their neighbourhood.
One day, a girl from a white riff-raff family reports to the town sheriff that a black man rapes her. The only witness is the girl’s father. Predictably enough, prevalent predilection in the neighbourhood is to believe the white statement despite the other conflicting facts. Meanwhile, Atticus is appointed to be the defendant’s attorney. And he begs to differ from the victim’s report.
There’s nothing new in both slavery and post-slavery inequity to be weaved in a narrative. But as much as slavery is such a common subject, this novel however is nowhere near common.
Also common is that through the subject of injustice, an author hopes to let people feel a glimpse of the rage, to break people’s hearts, to shift people’s perspectives and perhaps even to inspire people to do something consequently.
What’s uncommon is that these wishes are impeccably materialized in To Kill A Mockingbird.
If I were to pick one word to describe the novel, the word would be perfect. And I don’t use that word loosely. It’s the kind of perfection which will send you right into a reading slump after finishing the book.
And the crazy thing is, I don’t think the readers would be the only party affected, I honestly think the perfection of the book cursed the author herself. In fact, To Kill A Mockingbird is the only novel the late Harper Lee ever published to this day. Go Set A Watchman was published in 2015, but later was admitted as the first draft of To Kill A Mockingbird. Lee worked on several different drafts in between 1960 ( the year To Kill A Mockingbird was published in ) and 2015, but ended up discarding the drafts as not satisfying enough.
It’s like the first book was so great, she felt people would expect more from her. Which was probably felt overwhelming to her. She was so worried of not being able to create another quite the same perfection that she kept trying while doubting herself too much along the way that she ended up failing to finish any new book. Doesn’t that seem like a curse to you?
That probably wasn’t what happened with Lee at all, but well, it seems like a plausible scenario to me. #smilingsheephisly
Anyway, this book is that intense.
Among all the great things in the book, I love, I adore, and I dream to be Atticus.
Atticus Finch is a father.
“Atticus had said it was the polite thing to talk to people about what they were interested in, not about what you were interested in.”Scout Finch
He is simple and honest.
Atticus Finch is a wise father.
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”Atticus Finch
He is sensible and intelligent.
And the most important thing is, he is kind.
“An’ they chased him ‘n’ never could catch him ‘cause they didn’t know what he looked like, an’ Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things … Atticus, he was real nice….”Scout Finch
“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”Atticus Finch