|To Kill a Mockingbird
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"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.... When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out."
Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.
Like the slow-moving occupants of her fictional town, Lee takes her time getting to the heart of her tale; we first meet the Finches the summer before Scout's first year at school. She, her brother, and Dill Harris, a boy who spends the summers with his aunt in Maycomb, while away the hours reenacting scenes from Dracula and plotting ways to get a peek at the town bogeyman, Boo Radley. At first the circumstances surrounding the alleged rape of Mayella Ewell, the daughter of a drunk and violent white farmer, barely penetrate the children's consciousness. Then Atticus is called on to defend the accused, Tom Robinson, and soon Scout and Jem find themselves caught up in events beyond their understanding. During the trial, the town exhibits its ugly side, but Lee offers plenty of counterbalance as well--in the struggle of an elderly woman to overcome her morphine habit before she dies; in the heroism of Atticus Finch, standing up for what he knows is right; and finally in Scout's hard-won understanding that most people are essentially kind "when you really see them." By turns funny, wise, and heartbreaking, To Kill a Mockingbird is one classic that continues to speak to new generations, and deserves to be reread often. --Alix Wilber
The explosion of racial hate in an Alabama town is viewed by a little girl whose father defends a black man accused of rape.
- A Book that Everyone Should Read
There are so many reviews and websites about Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird that it's difficult to imagine adding much to the discussion. This was not required reading for me during my middle or high school years and I recently read it because it was chosen by my book club. There are so many lessons to be gleaned from this book and I think there's something for everyone to take away.
Told from the view of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch who does not fit the stereotype of a young lady, this story highlights and challenges the assumptions that are often made about those whom we don't understand or know much about, the racial inequality and prejudice that exists in our society, and the importance of family, integrity, and morality.
The story starts out a bit slow, but stay with it and you'll be glad you did. It wasn't a page turner for me and took a bit of resolve to stick with it in the beginning, but it was well worth the time to read it to the end. It was one of those books that had me going back to reread and ponder passages throughout.
Excellent read with layers of meaningful insights.
- Not all that great
Must have been the times in which it was first released because this book did nothing for me. I just don't get why people rave about this book. This is one of those rare cases where you should watch the movie and forget the book....more info
- One of the best novels ever written!
I read this book 15 years ago. Reading it again was wonderful, I had forgotten what a great book it is. To Kill a Mockingbird and Les Miserables are my two favorite novels....more info
- A classic even among classics
Jean Louise Finch, better known as Scout, narrates this tale that covers roughly 2 years of her childhood starting from shortly before she started the 1st grade. The story is a mixture of many elements including a mysterious neighbor named Boo Radley, various coming of age issues regarding Scout and her brother Jem, and her father, Atticus, defending a black man accused of raping a white woman. As the story is set in Alabama in the 1930s, the rape case is particularly incendiary.
To Kill a Mockingbird is such a classic piece of American literature that most people read it in high school. I somehow missed that experience and curiosity prompted me to pick it up and give it a try. While there were a few descriptions of rural southern life that ran on a bit long for my taste, the novel was well worth reading. For sheer entertainment value, I enjoyed the Boo Radley subplot the most as it is both mildly suspenseful and immensely interesting.
Of course, the novel is most famous for the rape trial and this is also compelling in a fairly horrifying and very sad way. Harper Lee paints a vivid portrait of the extent to which African Americans were relegated to a status far below even second class in that place and time. Atticus Finch does a masterful job of defending the accused, but he knows that the all-white jury has practically cast their votes before ever entering the courtyard. The author uses the narrative voice of the children to highlight the blatant injustices and the outrage that any decent person would feel as a result. The technique is highly effective if not exactly subtle.
To Kill a Mockingbird is easy to recommend. The story is interesting, the characters substantial, and the subject is still relevant today. It's a shame that Harper Lee has not published a second novel but this single book is likely to ensure that her voice will continue to be heard fro many years to come....more info
- A inspiring book to read it will touch your heart
Embrace The Light; a women's story through poetry to touch your heartThis book touched my heart. I highly reccommend it. A real classic. To foster peace and open the minds for others. ...more info
- My Favorite All-Time Book EVER!
This is one of the few books in my life that I treasure deeply. I have read it at least a dozen times. I am an avid reader and always have my next book lined up while I'm reading my current book (or books). A trainer at my gym, who always sees me reading, recently asked me if I had a favorite book and whithout hesitation I told him it was "To Kill a Mockingbird." I bought this copy for him and told him to pay it forward. I hope he sees the beauty in it. If you are considering reading this book for the first time, PLEASE do not hesitate. You will not be disappointed. It will fill your heart and it will stay with you the rest of your life.
- fantastic on every level
This is my all time favorite book, wonderful on so many levels. At the end I cried for the loss of the characters in my life. Simply extraordinary....more info
- Ok for used
It served the purpose. The book had no writing, underlining or highlighting, which is what I was concerned about and is what the seller had promised. The only complaint, if you can call it a complaint, is that the book smelled musty and old. My daughter complained about the smell everytime she had to pick the book up to read it. Since I bought the book for a fraction of what a new one would have cost, I told her to deal with it....more info
- Utterly timeless - To Kill a Mockingbird
Each time I read this book, I find more jewels inside. Harper Lee has written a masterpiece. I'm amazed how she accurately illustrates the complexities of topics that are difficult for adults (then and now) to comprehend and articulate. The fact that she paints these pictures through the eyes of children is AMAZING. I wish she'd written more. Although when you write perfection your first time out, it must be hard to contempate topping yourself....more info
- Worst Book Ever
When I found out we where going to read this book in school I was actually excited. But once I started reading it I could not get past the first page. Harper Lee's writing style is atrocious. I felt like she had copied of a 5th grader for her inspiration. This was a huge setback for the book.
I also thought that Atticus was a greatly exaggerated and unrealistic character. The likelihood of there being anybody like him in the 1930's, in Alabama is highly unlikely. He just seemed to good to be true. His character was to virtuous and to ethical to be a real person. There is nobody who can actually be that virtuous. He cared more for others interests than his own. This seemed rather unlikely for me to believe.
The character Scout was highly annoying. Everything is told from her perspective, so it's hard to have a serious novel when you have a story being told from an 8 year old.
So in conclusion Harper Lee's writing style is horrible, thank goodness she only wrote one book. Atticus is to unrealistic. Finally a story told from a child's perspective just does not work. I would like to note that I am not a racists, but I do feel like this goat as been milked for way to long....more info
- Tutor's Success Story
I have been tutoring a sixth grader who does not like to read. I thought it might be above her reading level, but the story has pulled her from page to page. For months I have tried to ignite her interest to read. To Kill A Mockingbird was the book that made the difference. She will always remember that To Kill A Mockingbird was the book that marked her passage from being an indifferent, poor reader to becoming an enthusiastic, successful reader....more info
- Feminism in To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird is set in a rural Southern town during the Dpression of the 1930s. The story is told from the perspective pf Scout Finch, a school-age Caucasian girl from a struggling middle class family. She has many encounters with conflicting social pressures. Many are quick to point out the civil rights aspect of the novel; however, even deeper into is, the subject of feminism is also addressed. From a feminist view, this novel excellently portrays social struggles of women during the era of the Depression.
Throughout the novel Scout is faced with an interesting dilemma concerning her gender and feminism. She is continuously faced with conflicting messages coming from Jem and Dill and from the likes of Aunt Alexandra or Mrs. Dubose. Jem and Dill are constantly encouraging Scout to act less like a traditional girl, and to spend more time in overalls than in dresses; for example, Jem tells Scout, "I declare to the Lord you're getting' more like a girl every day" after Scout declines to accompany Jem and Dill to the Radley House.
On the other hand Scout faces intense pressure to act like a convention girly-girl from the likes of her Aunt Alexandra and Mrs. Dubose; for example, Scout says, "Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants. Aunt Alexandra's vision of my deportment involved playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace she gave me when I was born."
In addition, Scout feels that she is isolated from other children by Aunt Alexandra as a result of her gender. She desires to "graduate to the big table" with the others, but she is not allowed to. Scout expresses that Aunt Alexandra "didn't understand girls much."
Overall, the book fully addresses the expectations felt by both children and women and offers a powerful commentary on feminism in the depression era of the South. It explains how the feminist influences affected growing up during this time period. This formula makes for a classic novel.
- Bravo! Harper Lee and a Work of Genius
I know I must have read this book during my teenage years but, for some reason, couldn't remember its details. So, to read it again (possibly) in middle age was an absolute revelation. What a wonderful book. What a totally captivating story.
Set in semi-rural Alabama in the years following the Great Depression, "To Kill a Mockingbird" covers the events of a small town and some of its underlying tensions. These are largely of a racial nature where poor and scarcely literate whites seem to have an innate hatred of blacks. Thus, we see the trial of Tom Robinson, an honest but poor black man, who is unfairly convicted of the rape of Mayella Ewell, the eldest daughter of a family of white trash. This is a sad case of bad triumphing over good.
However, the story has more to offer. Some degree of justice does prevail in the end. Yet, the book is more than a linear plot. It tells the story of the town brilliantly. The reader is entranced by the characters. We can see the wisdom of Atticus Finch, the town's lawyer; the violent ignorance of Bob Ewell, the father of Mayella; and the natural curiosity of Jem and Scout, the two children of Atticus. In every sense, these characters are absolutely plausible. Indeed, they are real. The reader thus feels as though he or she is a voyeur to real events. Harper Lee as the author has done a terrific job. As the work of a first time author, Lee deserves accolades of the highest order.
To read "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a privilege. It is English literature at its best. I feel that I am a richer person for the experience.
- Heartwarming childhood innocence...
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee weaves a coming of age story with its own everyday heroes. Scout and her brother, Jem, learn valuable lessons about life from the colorful characters around them and a society fraught with hard economic times and racial tension. Set during the depression in rural Alabama, Scout leads us through her world with the innocent eyes of a child. Not always understanding, but ever seeing.
When Scout's father Atticus Finch is chosen to represent an African American man accused of raping a white woman, the stage is set for these children to learn some very valuable lessons about life...and the greatness of their father's integrity. When things are rough and the family may lose its innocence, a most unlikely hero steps from the shadows to save our young heroine and her brother in their time of need.
To Kill a Mockingbird may be a classic for many reasons, but it will remain in this reader's heart for its character, its integrity and its willingness to step outside of the societal norm and see the goodness in people regardless of what the world at large may think or be told to believe. You would be hard pressed to find a classic book more easily entertaining and heart warming as this one.
If you are not a reader, I highly recommend watching the 1962 movie of the same title, with Gregory Peck starring as Atticus Finch. If it is possible for an actor to capture the spirit of a character and bring that character more readily to life, I have not seen it yet.
Enjoy!To Kill a Mockingbird...more info
- To Kill A Mockingbird Review: Poverty
Harper Lee's literary masterpiece To Kill A Mockingbird portrays poverty during the Depression in an accurate yet somewhat negative light. The novel chronicles the childhood of Jem and Scout Finch, with their father Atticus, in the economically disadvantaged town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the 1930s. The decade brought increased financial hardships to much of America's muddle-class as racial tensions escalated in a nation struggling to achieve equality.
Although the majorirty of Maycomb residents faced a certain degree of poverty, Lee highlights extremely impoverished families such as the Ewells and Cunninghams. In a truthful rendition of the sacrifices many had to endure, Lee describes Walter Cunningham's lack of food. "He had no [lunch] today no would he have any tomorrow oe rhe next day," Lee writes and, "He had probably never seen the quarters together..."
Mockingbird also displays the respect and generosity with which most tried to lead their lives, despire the poverty all around the,. When Scout invites young Walter over for lunch, Calpurnia, the Finches' housekeeper, reprimands Scout, admonishing, "Yo' folks might be better than the Cunninghams, but it don't count for mothin' the way you're disgracin' 'em..."
Lee's depiction of the dirt-poor Ewells, whose alcoholic father uses his meager income to fuel his addiction , allows the audience to glimpse the bottom crust of Southern society. Of Burris Ewell, a permanent first-grader, Lee writes, "His neck was dark gray, the back of his hands were rusty, and his fingernails were balck deep into the quick." The poverty-stricken South is accurately exemplified in Harper Lee's classic tale To Kill A Mockingibrd....more info
- Civil Rights View
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is an accurate representation of the struggle for civil rights. One character, Calpurnia, particularly caught our eye as she was a respected figure in the Finch household even though she is an African American working for the family. Despite being a valued member of the family, and a mother figure to Scout and Jem, Calpurnia is looked down on by outsiders, the reserved citizens of Maycomb; for example, even Aunt Alexandra, sister to Atticus, is concerned about Calpurnia's place in the family, convinced that the household "[doesn't] need her now." It is evident that Calpurnia's right to be respected is disregarded by others.
While most Southern whites of the 1960s were racist, Atticus Finch, a white man, agreed to legally defend an African American, Tom Robinson. By doing so, Atticus becomes an object of ridicule and prejudice. Being called derogatory names such as "nigger-lover" and "negro trash," Atticus is threatened both verbally and physically. At one point in the novel, a mob arrives at the jail to attack him. He is saved only by his daughter, Scout, as she humanizes him. Atticus' loyalty and devotion to the civil rights cause is inspirational.
The average southern white is greatly contrasted by Lee's portrayal of Mr. Dolphs Raymond. He is a white man who feels more comfortable with blacks than with whites. This is a welcome juxtaposition as it creates a contrast between the average southern citizens and himself. Dolphus' character not only supports civil rights but opens readers to the possibility of peaceful integration. This book is recommended to readers interested in the 1960s civil rights movement.
Written By Nadia Kadry, Madeleine Varmer, Anna Rittman-Tune, and Caroline Kemper...more info
- Great audio of a beloved classic!
This audio book is a wonderful version of the classic novel. I love the idea of listening to this on a long road trip. This novel captures life in a small southern time during the time of segregation and the Great Depression and brings to life the quirky personalities one might find in any small, close-knit community, as well as the great and not-so-great qualities of humankind. Of course, one of the best aspects of the novel is Atticus, a great classic father figure.
As a high school teacher, I find this is a great resource to use when we do whole class readings. Not only does this save my teacher's voice, but the reading itself is very enjoyable and authentic (Southern accent and all!) The narrator accurately captures the tone and characterization found in the dialogue, and reads at a slower pace, allowing for students to interpret the meaning of some parts that contain difficult vocabulary words. The audio CDs are also wonderful to use since I can monitor students during the audio portion, and pause to discuss important scenes and events. Highly recommended!...more info
- 1960s Standpoint
One of the biggest daily challenges high school students face is the struggle to be accepted. As high school students reading Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird, we are reminded of the progressive thinking of the 1960s. Many of the lessons Atticus teaches Scout represent the values of this era. In the 60s, acceptance and love were upheld and the Civil Rights movement became apparent in everyday lives of Americans.
In TKAM, Atticus addresses these morals, such as when Atticus advises Scout not to call African-Americans the n-word. Atticus explains that just because people are different doesn't mean that they should be shunned and disrespected. This is an ideal of the 60s, as shown by the progress of the Civil Rights Movement.
Another of the 1960s values shown in Atticus' teachings is displayed when he says to Scout, "You just hold your head high and keep those fists down." The anti violence concept that Atticus preaches was prevalent in the 1960s culture. Many people advocated an anti-war stance which called for peace and unity over violence. We find that To Kill a Mockingbird manifests the ideals of the 1960s which are still valuable today.
By Louise G, Greg S, Talia M, Gabe P, and Larisa A ...more info
- A True Classic!
The only thing I can't figure out is WHY I never read this before. Apparently, it wasn't required reading in high school. But I'm ever so glad I finally got to reading it.
It was brilliant and I can easily understand how this novel has withstood the test of time. I saw that it was still one of the best books of 2008. I can't say anymore than has already been said on this novel, except if you, by chance, haven't read it yet....do yourself a favor and enjoy a classic.
Scout and Atticus are characters that live on in your memory long after that last page is read....more info
- To kill a mockingbird.....
Harper Lee's Pulitzer-prize winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, was published in 1960. The novel, set in 1930's Alabama, details the life of a young girl, Scout, and her older brother, Jem, as they encounter the prejudices of their small town. Their father, Atticus Finch, the town's lawyer, must defend a Negro male in a case that changes the Finch's lives forever. The book details Scout's period of self discovery & her exploration of ethics in a time of racial conflict in America's South. Scout, the narrator of the novel, is six at the beginning, but as she grows, so too does the novel's vocabulary. Words like "stricture" and "slop" turn into "ex cathedro" and "morphodite". The diction evolves in accordance with the development of the character changing to reflect shifting views & perspectives.
Although a great piece of literature, the novel does not contain similes or metaphors. This lack, however, does not detract from the literary experience, but rather adds to the book a refreshing element of honesty & innocence. A relatively new literary work, To Kill A Mockingbird is a masterpiece that will be enjoyed by adults, children and families for years to come.
Reviewed by: K. Klavon, P. Friedman, J. Quinlan, L.K., Mike Dalbello,
Max Holmes...more info
- Sissy Spacek is Scout!
I cannot recommend this highly enough. I listened to it in my car, and on more than one occasion, I would sit there listening even after arriving at my destination. It is that good. Listening to it made me want to read the book again....more info
- Great book, great reading
I already love this book. Now I love it even more on audio as narrated by Sissy Spacek. Check out this audio version, it is stellar! Perfect production, I couldn't ask for anything more. ...more info
- Amazing Novel!!!!!
The novel is simply amazing! An amazing storyline to go along with a tremendous theme in human equality and rights. A must read for everyone who grew up in the south....actually a must read for every American period!! ...more info
- By Jacob K., a 7th Grader
When you're a white lawyer living in Maycomb county, Alabama its tough enough. But for a 50-year-old Atticus Finch it's even rougher. He has two kids, Jem and Scout who are in 7th and 2nd grade. As a lawyer, Atticus can be assigned to any case by a judge. Unfortunately when he is assigned to a black man's case, it all goes downhill. Atticus being the passive man that he is, I believe he accepted the case because he truly wanted it. The problem for Atticus was his kids and the people around him. Jem, who's a football star and very smart, always is defending his father. He is also good at looking after Scout and keeping her out of trouble. Scout, who is the main character in the story, is adventurous and likes to experiment with different things. Dill is Jem and Scout's friend that comes over every summer to fool around. Heck Tate is the sheriff of Maycomb County who keeps Atticus out of harm's way often. Boo Radley is a man who stays locked up in his house all day and swears to shoot any living thing that sets foot on his property. Mr. Bob Ewell testifies in the major court case that Atticus is involved in and ends up causing many problems for the Finch family. Tom Robinson is the black man that is accused of rape of Mr. Bob Ewell's daughter and is defended by Atticus. Finally there is Calpurnia (Cal for short) who is a black maid and helper in the Finch household. I think the plotline was outstanding in this book with the way that it flowed. Every time a problem was solved, another one would come up. This use of a plotline kept me interested throughout the entire book. Also every character good or bad, changed in a way through the path of the story which definitely made things more interesting.
When Tom Robinson is ruled upon unfairly, bad things begin to happen. However, all of these things connect directly back to Atticus. Although problems keep happening to Atticus, he ignores them or tries to find the positive side of things. I liked this because he did not act out of anger. One thing that I did not like about the book was the things that seemed to have nothing to do with the final outcome of the book. This made it seem slow moving and boring at times. Overall I give this book a rating of 8 out of 10. What will be Tom Robinson's final fate be? More importantly what will Atticus' final fate be? Read to find out.
- to kill a mokingbird
i got the book it was in new con and it got to me in 3 days ...more info
- A Teenager's Perspective of To Kill A Mockingbird
Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird is a relief after the numerous tedious pieces of "classic literature" forced upon us by our county's curriculum. This book interlaces themes related to both adulthood and childhood which parallel the stage of our lives which we currently live.
To Kill A Mockingbird centers around the lives of Scout and Jem Finch and their explorations of the facets of maturity. The two spend there summers with Dill, exploring their sleepy southern town and trying to coax Boo Radley out of his house. The siblings grow apart as the each begin their own transition from child to adult. Jem's changes manifest themselves in his habitual "maddening superiority", while Scout learns more about the intricacies of the more adult world. Their new found maturity is tested when Atticus takes on the job of defending Tom Robinson. Then they learn the true meaning of growing lies in making the right decision when faced with the wrong.
This novel resonates with teenage readers in a way uncommon to many of the books imposed upon us in school. Everyone should read this timeless classic because it is more that just a classic. It is a catalog of life lessons imparted to the reader through a collection of memories....more info
- TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD BOOK
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD book
My order was received in a timely manner. Everything went smoothly. I'm pleased. Thanks. Letha Woodring...more info
- Feminist's View of To Kill A Mockingbird
The great American classic, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, is a heart-warming and insightful re-telling of one spunky, curious girl growing up in the racially-divided and old-fashioned South. The main character, Scout, was constantly reprimanded by her relatives, for being too "unladylike." She breaks through these gender stereotypes by refusing to adhere to this expected persona of a Southern Belle. Ever her brother and friend engage in sexist jokes and banter, and exclude her from certain activities because of her gender. Despite her dealing with the constant insults to her person, Scout blossoms into an upstanding and determined woman, partially because of her father Atticus's moral teachings throughout her development.
This book is considered a classic for a reason. Not only does it contain beautiful writing and meaningful morals, but it also has an entertaining plot. The book appeals to twelve-year olds and forty year olds alike, with a sweet and humorous story. All different kinds of people, from the more "involved" Stephanie Crawford's to the sassy and opinionated Calpurnias, can enjoy this wonderful tale of growing up, learning new things, and breaking boundaries that has entertained a nation for over forty years.
by ava, jenny w, lizzy, and rosalie....more info
- From a classic-hater
I have read Great Expectations (see my review; a horrible book), that book about the whale (I forgot the title; that's how much i didn't care about it) and a few other so called "classics." As far as I'm concerned, the only reason these are classics is because they are oldest books that people could find and are therefore classic.
But this book is different... the characters are interesting, the story line (although not clear from the beginning) is actually quite good, and there are just the right amount of details. My favorite parts are Scout's tangles with Miss Caroline and the trial.
Although I don't get the names (Scout, Dill, Jem, Atticus), this book is a must read....more info
- an enduring classic
Part of what prompted me to buy this classic on audiobook was that Sissy Spacek was the narrator. I knew she would do it justice, as well as lend authenticity with her Southern accent. To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic that continues to endure today. The audiobook version, as narrated by Ms. Spacek, is riveting and engrossing. I looked forward to my commute because I knew there was more drama or just more of a wonderful story waiting to unfold!...more info
- Interesting book
This book starts of a little slow when the characters are being developed but gets much better as it gets into the meat of the matter. It is nicely written and the story line is very strong. It really captures racism back in the day and turns it into a compelling tale/reality......more info
- Reply to "Silent Minority" Reviewer Who Gave It Only One Star
Really, history texts are "more entertaining" than this book?
Now this reviewer has something that can be used as a good talking point about the book "To Kill a Mockingbird," but rather than saying it-he/she would rather bury their point in sarcasm. As many of you know, students have trouble learning by reading only textbooks. It's safe to say, textbooks can be dry, fact-laden, and lack the appeal necessary to engage a student who finds flipping their pencil around more interesting. Given the sarcasm, this reviewer knows that history books are generally considered "not entertaining" and uses a tongue-and-cheek approach to say that Lee's "To Kill a Mocking Bird" is less entertaining than what is already established as `low entertainment.'
My question is why? Why not say what you mean? Why the sarcasm? Why not suggest a resource or piece of fiction that portrays history better? But perhaps this reviewer can't. Perhaps their sarcasm is a tactic to hide their misreading of an important piece of literature.
Yes, Harper Lee's book does contain stereotypes, but let's take it further. Let's see Lee's book as a spring board to question the use of stereotypes at all?
Instead of dismissing a novel written in the late 50's (published in 1960) along side a late 70's television show (Goodtimes aired between 1974-1979), why not use this to question the case a television show duplicated the same stereotypes of a book twenty years its predecessor? Or how is it that such stereotypes are still used in fiction and film in our current times? This reviewer dismisses a book like "To Kill a Mockingbird" rather that seeing that it can be used to talk about the human condition (no matter how unfortunate this condition may be) that things outside individual perceptions are generalized and used, (often commercialized) that then perpetuate the misunderstanding of others to the demise of everyone, but in particular to minorities?
This reviewer writes that "Simply put, this is a novel about racism written for people who received their knowledge about racism from this book!" What I think this person wants to say is that instead of standing against racism, this book serves to perpetuate it. But how can this reviewer not take in consideration the time period in which the book was written (which was the same decade Lucile Ball could not say the word "pregnant" on television). But this reviewer fails to recognize that this book does not only show us prejudice thinking but calls it to question and provides us with the opportunity to talk about it. And this dialogue begins from where the book starts-from the point of view of children.
So reviewer, how is this book an "insult to intelligent readers" when readers you speak of sit some 50 years after its making? Isn't this book history itself? If you peal back its coming of age story, we get a first hand look at what at the time (as sad it as it maybe to us now) were controversial ideas? The situation where a man can be guilty simply because of the color of his skin puts to question how these notions have been embedded in our culture. This can be used to start a dialogue of how far we have or have not come. Instead of judging it, let's learn from it and put our contemporary egos aside to look at what is between the lines in this text.
For example, this reviewer calls to attention that the stereotypical use of minorities being saved by "archetypal" "perfect" white man and calls it a fault of the book. But isn't the fault of prejudice times the book is set in? Could Lee have created an African American lawyer character to do the saving of an innocent African American man on trial during the 50's? Sadly, no. Lee was using examples of what were available at the time to bring to question how others are condemned because of something as arbitrary as the color of a person's skin.
This is our shared history. I am not proud of it, but it is where we have evolved from. But when I read a review like this one I question that very evolution. We have the privilege of being somewhere else in time, we know better. Should they have known better then? I say "yes," because I live now. Did others at the time see what we see now? Sure, there have been people throughout history who have fought to the point of loss of life for the equality of all. Those people were visionaries. Lee in writing "To Kill a Mockingbird" does represent a piece of that visionary notion that says, "There is something wrong with condemning a person not by their actions but by who they are that others do not know." You seem say how dare she call this to question by using stereotypes? When really there wasn't enough integration of people to see differently. Going by the publication history of this book, people where finally coming around to question how they believed.
So yes, this book contains the dangerous notions that have been used to justify not only supremacy but also hate and horrible crimes against others. But it also exposes the idea of how tyrannical popular belief can be. Use extreme care when relegating a book of this magnitude to the pile of the unreadable because you can't get over the time period in which it represents. To say something is racists when it shows racism is to dangerously stop the conversation that such literature brings.
So let's use the luxury of being forward in time (and it is a luxury as those who will be 50 years a head of us will have), we can peer into the systems at work in this book, and learn to not repeat the mistakes. Use it to question our notion of humanity by what others had to endure.
As Scout in the novel says, "when you really see them," I think this reviewer failed to "really" see Harper Lee and this book. He/she claims to be an intelligent reader, but somehow does not understand that time-stamped literature show us ourselves and sometimes (dear, I say often) that side of us is not a pleasant one. Let's question the book, not dismiss it as something that perpetuates it unless it is in the hands of a person who chooses to use it as a perpetuation. Because in actuality, it's the times we stand juxtaposed against not the literary products thereof.
Classical literature helps us do this by getting inside, seeing the composite faces and lives of who they were.
So please drop the sarcasm and say what you mean. Then a great conversation and learning, learning about who we are-where we've been and where we're going-can really begin....more info
- Excellent Audio Book of American Classic!
I have never understood those who talk about who will write or when "The Great American Novel" will appear. It has already been written, by Harper Lee.
Sissy Spacek was an inspired choice to narrate this book, with her soft Southern accent. Indeed, as you listen to her read you can well imagine a grown-up Scout reading her memoirs. Ms. Spacek does not try to 'mimic' other voices, such as Jen or Atticus, but simply changes tone a bit.
This audiobook is unabridged: you get every single word (including the wonderful quote about lawyers having been children once). There are no 'sound effects' or such during the reading. At the end of each chapter is some soft music (lutes or such) to lead you into the next chapter.
If you are a fan of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, you will want to obtain this audiobook. I will remind all that there was another audiobook version put out in 1990 or so (I forget who read it); I thought about buying it (at Barnes Noble), hesitated a year or two, and then it was gone. They simply did not make that many copies and they were soon all gone. ...more info
- Review from Noah, Britton, Blake, Willa, and Michel from green Group
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, details the story of a young girl living in Maycomb, Alabama. this girl must learn to cope with the issues of racism and classism within her community. The novel accurately depicts the strong overtone of racism in the south. Little Scout, brimming with maturity beyond her young years, is faced with racial adversity when her father takes a case defending an African American.
Wee Scout is harassed by peers who call her strong, caring father a "nigger lover". Scout, being a rambunctious and feisty youngster, is forced to change her aggressive lifestyle due to constant teasing from her fellow classmates. She courageously perservered and sticks by her father's side throughout the trial.
This book, one of the first of its kind, shows the readers the true corruption of the time. Scout must come to terms with the fact that the society surrounding her is blinded by prejudice and stereotypes. Although her and her family know the innocence of Tom Robinson, Jem must face Scout with the unfortunate reality that "here are things [she] doesn't understand" about southern society.
the detailed accuracy of the racism and injustice within the court system at that time is astounding.
- No, It Doesn't Teach You How To Kill a Mockingbird
This timeless novel by Harper Lee is a semi-autobiographical story about a girl named Scout Finch growing up in 1930's Alabama. When her father, Atticus, is assigned to defend a black man on trial for rape, Scout must learn to keep her head high in spite of the taunting and threats of a town gone "stark raving mad". Scout's brother, Jem, represents adolescence and its uncertainty, while her friend, Dill, provides a more na?ve and straightforward point-of-view; with Scout's tenacity they form a balanced perspective on the discord that surrounds them. Their distant communication and friendship with the hermit Boo Radley teaches Scout that people are not always who they appear to be.
The first-person narration by Scout as an adult is effective in making the reader feel like he or she has truly lived the story, and in allowing adults, as well as kids, to relate to the theme of growing up while facing adversity. Atticus, truly the model father, shows through example the values of courage, honesty, and respect. The different ways that Scout, Jem, and Dill, respond to the injustices they witness allow for great insight into the human character. To Kill a Mockingbird is known as a high-school staple for its message of courage and tolerance, but readers of all ages have been and will continue to be impacted by this poignant narrative....more info