I know it’s crazy, but somehow I made it all the way through high school and college without ever reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. As someone who teaches English (writing), I felt it was my responsibility to have read this book, so I have spent the last two weeks doing so. Two weeks is a long time for a book of this length, I know, but with the new school semester starting, it was the best I could do.
To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of a small Alabama town in the 1930s. The story is told through the eyes of an 8-year-old girl (Scout) whose father (Atticus Finch) was asked to defend a man in a rape trial. This trial was of great significance because the case involved a white girl accusing a black man of assaulting her. In the 1930s in Alabama, this was a dangerous place for a black man to find himself, and the whole situation causes a rift through the town that our young narrator just can’t understand.
This story gives a great snapshot of the time period in which it takes place. Growing up, in school, we hear all kinds of stories about the prejudices that existed during this period of our country’s history. The quality Lee adds to these stories, a human quality, makes the tragedy more real, causing readers to sympathize with the characters going through these hardships. Like Scout, we approach the situation from an angle where all men are supposed to be treated equally, regardless of their upbringing or skin color. Therefore, it is difficult for us to comprehend the uproar caused by Atticus choosing to defend his client, like a lawyer should.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a great literary piece for showing the audience the way things were and why it is good that times have changed. In my opinion, the book is a bit slow to get started, and some sections of the story seem to wander a bit. That being said, I understand why this book has been such a big deal since it was originally published.