To Kill A Mockingbird. To many of us, this is but a typical literature novel we see nestled in someone’s hands or chucked in between other exciting books in the bookstore. But it may come across as a surprise to know that this novel is not commonplace literature text. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I consider it one of the greatest books I have ever read.
The book is set in Alabama, with the protagonist, Jean Louise Finch, more comfortably addressed as Scout and her brother Jem spending precious minutes of their childhood making up games and building new friendships. The first few chapters also emphasize the two children’s intimacy with their father, Atticus Finch. As a lawyer, Atticus had always insisted on inculcating the right moral values to the adolescents. From a young age and even throughout their maturing years, Jem and Scout never fail to turn to their father as a moral compass, and their father was greatly praised by them and the neighbourhood.
The whole book circles around real world context issues like racism and moral courage. Nestled in every word is an underlying meaning, an important lesson we can learn if only we know how to read between the lines. Even the outcast, Boo Radley, was used to portray how undeniable the consequences of racism are. When Boo finally proves himself to be harmless, it also assists in bring closure to the book, and tying up the loose ends of the plot. Boo’s gentle and harmless demeanour is related to the point of how people of another skin colour are innocent. They are living their lives as they should be, and they too, are human.
One inspiring line from the book, quoted “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. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” is adapted from a scene which portrays Atticus’ attempt to teach the children to persevere, and that things might not always go their way, but having the courage to see through it is all that really matters. It shows that racism is a pressing issue that might not seem to go away and would definitely not disappear overnight, but as long as one hangs tough, the issue will resolve little by little.
If you are not a fan of reading, To Kill A Mockingbird is available as a movie, although i maintain on my stand that the book is more alluring. Let the words take you away on an adventure like no other.
If you have read the book and you are still itching for more, it might interest you to know that Harper Lee, the author has written a sequel, Go Set A Watchman. In that book, some of Atticus’ views have changed and that might be another thought-provoking journey for you to set out on.
Nicolette Kum (2U)