Book Reviews,  General

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Book Review

To Kill a Mockingbird is a world-known literary classic. This novel has become popular since the first day of publishing and remains relevant until today.

It is a beautiful piece of writing that deals with many moral questions and societal issues. It is not surprising that it is a part of the American literary canon.

Whether one reads it as a kid or as an adult, it is impossible to remain indifferent to this novel.

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Strong and Inspiring Characters

People described in this book are among the best and well-thought characters. Harper Lee has introduced a few great persons to us.

Not only are they inspiring but also vivid and human. Atticus Finch is a hero of the novel, but most importantly, he is a moral role model. He is a single father and a lawyer who doesn’t judge people based on stereotypes of prejudice.

His moral high ground makes him stand out among other people living in the fictional Alabama city. At the same time, Atticus is portrayed as human, without extraordinary traits or talents. He is a good person and a decent human being, which makes him even more relatable.

Another important person is Jem to Kill a Mockingbird character. He is an older brother of Jean Louise (Scout), a six-year-old girl who narrates the story.

Together with their friend Dill, they represent the innocence and adventurous nature of childhood that is disrupted by terrifying events taking place.

The kids’ voices add a lot of humor and irony to the story, which makes it even more charming. On the one hand, the novel deals with lots of crucial social and moral issues. At the same time, it is a humorous portrayal of the American South of the 1930s.

It was a time of the Great Depression and overall disappointment with the future. It was also a time when society was filled with prejudices, and inequality was a reality for many different social groups.

The Finch family is central to the novel, yet there are many other amazing characters.

Social Criticism

The focal point of the novel is the look at the state of society in the 1930s. It was published in 1960 and had some autobiographical references.

Yet, it is as relevant today as it was in the 60s. Pointing out such complex issues is what makes Harper Lee one of the greatest authors of the 20th century.

The main conflict is based on racial inequality and prejudice. Atticus Finch is a lawyer of black man Tom, who is accused of raping a white girl. Atticus wants to provide a fair trial and save the life of an innocent man.

In response, the whole town treats him and his children as enemies. People turn their backs on and call the whole Finch family names just because Atticus is trying to help a man in a difficult situation.

By the end of the story, this conflict reaches the point of violence. There was little fairness in the trial, which shows racial inequality in 1930s America.

Of course, it is only the first layer of the issue. The book describes the real problems people of color had to face and still do, even today.

At the same time, it raises the moral question of treating people as equal in general. Atticus is a good man who respects anyone without stereotyping. He takes the sides of those who’ve got almost no protection.

People of the town are fast to judge Tom just because he was accused. For them, his skin color and a couple of words are enough to be sure that he is guilty and deserves to die.

The book is a great picture of mob mentality and the will to jump to conclusions before anything is proven.

The message is clear – no one should be judged for anything except one’s actions. Each person should be treated with respect, irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Light and Charming Narration

Readers discover the story through the eyes of Jean Louise. This unusual POV brings about different effects.

First of all, in a way, it is a look in the adults’ society from the outsider’s point. Children are not born with hate or prejudice; they only face it through the course of actions covered in the novel. It shows how illogically adults might act.

Another effect is that the narration is light and humorous. Jean Louise has her peculiar perspective on life and describes the world in her own terms.

This narration technique makes the novel a true masterpiece.

In Summary

To Kill a Mockingbird has a great legacy and remains widely-loved by many readers. Not only has it shown the problems in society, but it also introduced a heroic model – Atticus Finch.

It is impossible to read it without an emotional response. In the best way, it teaches readers love, respect, and kindness.

 

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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