“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee Book Review

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is considered to be a classic of modern American literature. This novel by Harper Lee, published in 1960, was instantly successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize. It was really two books in one: “…a sweet, often humorous portrait of small-town life in the 1930s, and a sobering tale of race relations in the Deep South during the Jim Crow era” (Grimes, 2016, para. 10). In fact, the book reveals the problem of race relations. And we know that in the USA everything connected with tolerance (towards a different race, other sexual orientation, etc.) is automatically marked by awards and is encouraged in every possible way. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is truly a wonderful piece. Moreover, it is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Harper Lee almost always succeeds in accurately preserving an intonational pattern, a style of thoughts and perceptions inherent in an eight-year-old child. She is presented as “a timeless heroine for every little girl with a head full of questions and an appetite for a good fight” (Chakrabarti, 2015, para. 3). The choice of an epigraph is not accidental: “Lawyers, I suppose, were children once” (Mendenhall, 2015, p. 6). Jean Louise does not analyze events, but emotionally, sincerely and sharply reacts to falsity and injustice. She is perplexed about the inconsistency and illogicality of adults (they condemn Hitler and fascism, but are indifferent to the racial problems in their country, talk about the rights and dignity of the person, but are prejudiced and cruel to innocent Tom). From these words, I understand that the duality of human nature is a bad thing.

Harper Lee pays specific attention to the fact that Finch’s “concept of life is the heart of the novel.” Attracting the wrath and contempt of almost the entire white population of the town, Atticus takes Tom Robinson’s case even though he understands it is probably hopeless. Atticus Finch shows his life credo to his children not by words, but by his actions: “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” (Bloom, 2010, pp. 81-82) – chivalry and love for all people. These words are very helpful when it comes to my personal goals. Living life is a bit risky, without courage nothing would ever get done.

With particular love and sympathy, Harper Lee represents black fellow citizens in the novel “To Kill a mockingbird”. There are no bad and evil ones, on the contrary, all evil and bias comes from whites. This fact allowed to consider a tendency concerning “black racism of white southerners”. However, this definition can be challenged by the position of the writer, clearly expressed in the novel: all people are created free and equal in rights, regardless of skin color, race, religion and should possess “constitutional guarantees of equality, justice, fairness, freedom” (Markey, n.d., p. 5) and so on. In other words, individuals who are in the process of being offended and humiliated should be defended and protected.

The title of the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” includes an inviolable dogma: fair punishment for a scoundrel who questions basic ideas of ​​humanism and democracy. In this case, it teaches me to be more humane in relation to others. Socializing with people at university, I understand that only a friendly attitude is the key to effective communication with fellow students.

The main idea of ​​the book is a terrible power of prejudice and public opinion that force people to act against the truth. Based on my experience, I can see that sometimes I try to be “like everyone else”. Now I clearly understand that public opinion can be a ‘weak’ tyrant. People, in fact, are not the ultimate source of power. They cannot control the fate of other people.

Mockingbird is a symbol of someone who, having done nothing wrong, receives punishment and evil. A mockingbird itself carries a great symbol in the book. The “mockingbird” represents the idea of innocence. Hence, to kill a mockingbird is to ruin innocence. The murder of a mockingbird is a type of conviction of the innocent.

The conflict of the story arises in the fact that a young black man is accused of raping a white woman and Atticus is asked to protect him. It is not so easy: Atticus must overcome prejudices and Maycomb people who are against Tom Robinson.

“To Kill a mockingbird” gave the world one of their most famous male characters in the history of literature, and then in the movies. His name is Atticus Finch who is a kind of personification of the image of the father, decency, courage and responsibility. A quiet, melancholic middle-aged man with poor eyesight reveals throughout the book and this happens through the prism of his little daughter’s perception. Atticus Finch at the beginning of the book is simply the father of the main character, who is not too strict with his children and is busy working for the good of the society. But then he is shown as a very brave man, who confronts all difficulties and is ready to protect a person from unlawful punishment. Mendenhall (2015) states that he “found the courage and wisdom to do the right thing under perilous circumstances” (p. 8). I am eager to be like this person because his personality and actions can only inspire for good deeds. These are essentials to accomplish in life.

In the book there are the main social groups – rich landowners, Negros, descendants of planters working for them. The text of the novel includes the indispensable leaders of provincial America – a judge, sheriff, teacher, doctor, lawyer. They personify power, spiritual and secular, the law and the spirit of stability, although they are subject to traditional prejudices, social and racial prejudices, like all other inhabitants of Maycomb. Talking about the setting, it is possible to say that this particular one is very believable. In fact, black people were not treated properly back in the 1900s. They were gloomy because of their physical appearance.

All in all, taking everything into consideration, it is possible to draw a conclusion that “To kill a mockingbird” is a very touching book, a childlike look at terrible, unfair events. This book is about the essence of human nature, about the influence of society and true values. A tempting title for a book catches the reader’s attention. Horrors, of course, are present, but only in the form of children’s fears – unjustified, contrived and exaggerated. The problems of racial discrimination are described, they are understood from the inside, and you understand the entire injustice of the laws, the incredible sensitivity of some people and the vile essence of others. In fact, there are a lot of topics to think about in the course of the plot. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a textbook of worldly wisdom as it presents important moral lessons. This story taught me to be kinder and more humane towards others. All people are equal in their rights and opportunities. Only kindness, love, understanding and mutual respect will save this world.

References

Bloom, H. (Ed.). (2010). Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Bloom’s Literary Criticism.

Chakrabarti, S. (2015, July 11). Shami Chakrabarti: To Kill A Mockingbird made me a lawyer. The Guardian.  Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/11/shami-chakrabarti-kill-mockingbird-made-me-lawyer

Grimes, W. (2016, February 19). Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Dies at 89. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/20/arts/harper-lee-dies.html

Markey, M. E. (n.d.). Natural Law, Positive Law, And Conflicting Social Norms in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Retrieved from https://www.tjsl.edu/sites/default/files/files/Natural%20Law,%20Positive%20Law,%20and%20Conflicting%20Social%20Norms%20in%20Harper%20Lee’s%20To%20Kill%20a%20Mockingbird,.pdf

Mendenhall, A. (2015). Children Once, Not Forever: Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and Growing Up. Indiana Law Journal Supplement, 91(6), 6-14.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

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freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: June 30, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 30, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 30, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 30, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 30, 2022]
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