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To Kill a Mockingbird is an ingenious, heart-splitting creation that slices your soul in half.
It examines the unjust irrationality of racism, and just how wickedly ridiculous people
can get when acting upon biased morals. It's told from a young child's view in a small
southern town, crossing innocence with the adult's prejudiced world. Anyone who wants
to try it--let them read. Children nine and under might have a tough time understanding
the message behind it. I read it when I was ten, loving every bit of it. I can easily say I'll
read it again. Content isn't really an issue, considering that the message is invaluable.
The word n***er is used a few times, and the plot revolves around a black man unfairly
accused of rape. Atticus is a positive role-model for anyone. He defends the accused
without a bias while steely, racist eyes look on. There are quite a few witty lines I
remember as well. This black-and-white novel clearly states the harsh blind-fold that
racism can stick on anyone. Cruelty against blacks is, and always will be, America's
skeleton-in-the-closet from the past. Anyway...Harper Lee is one of my favorite writers.
She was undoubtedly quite bright and understanding. I've heard that she only published
one novel in her life-time. That is somewhat disappointing, considering the play-on-
words she must've obtained. But a true classic book that anyone should read if given
the opportunity. Sincerely, BookWorm 100

This is one of my all-time favorite books- and always will be. The themes and messages are amazing, as
well as the characters and the plot. However this definitely is a novel with some more mature content, not
necessarily bad, but still mature. Violence: There are two deaths in the book, one only described after it
happens (by gunfire) and the other we see and later hear more about (by knife). It is also rumored by the
town that Boo Radley stabbed his father with a pair of scissors, bit off his mother's finger (I think it was his
mother), eats any stray animals he can find, and more such things. A rabid dog is discovered at one point
and is shot down, and an angry mob confronts Atticus at the local jail but is quickly stopped. It is implied
that a man beats his daughter and abuses her. Language: Lots of realistic 30's Southern language here
including both b-words (scatted throughout), the d-word (used a handful of times), the h-word (another
handful), lots of racial terms like the n-word (used frequently), and disrespectful terms (used here and
there). Also take note that lots of these words are spoken or thought by children rather than adults.
Alcohol: Bob Ewell is a drunk and acts violently due to that. It is also believed that a character lives on
alcohol, drinking it constantly, but it turns out to be coca-cola. Sex: A key point in the plot is the court case
of Tom Robinson, a man on trial for the rape of Mayella Ewell. Tom, Mayella, and Bob (her father) are all
called to tell exactly what they saw happen, which does lead to some mild/graphic description (depending
on the reader's opinion). The most graphic descriptions (that I remember) happen when Mayella claims
that Tom "got what he was after" and Bob is asked if he witnessed Tom "have sexual intercourse with
your daughter" and says yes. Scout (the 8-year-old narrator) asks what rape is a few times and watches
the court case. After being caught after sneaking around Boo Radley's property by Atticus, Jem (Scout's
brother), pantless from hopping the fence, is asked why he is pantless. Dill (their friend) lies that they
were playing strip poker and wouldn't do it again. There is a lot of content in this book, but despite all that
the story is incredible. I'd suggest this book to anyone 13 and up. It's very insightful and changed my
perspective incredibly. The themes of ignorance, prejudice, innocence, and much more can be found
easily and are displayed intertwined within each other brilliantly. My rating is PG-13 for brief violence,
some sexual discussion, language, and thematic elements.
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Social/Historical context:

The book is set in the 1930’s, the Great Depression period, affecting southern America. Most of the characters are
poor and uneducated farmers. Atticus and his children are comparatively well off and well educated.

Writing Style:

The novel is narrated in first person from the point of view of Scout Finch as she recalls the events that happen
when she is six years old and three years from there on. But the events are narrated plainly from the eyes of a six
year old instead of being clouded with an imposing adult’s interpretations on these events. This makes the book
subtly warm and endearing to the reader.

My Thoughts:

This book personally appealed to me mainly with subtle humour, brought in by the gap between the child’s
understanding of what happens and what actually happens. As Jostein Gaarder comments in his book, Sophie’s
World, as we grow up, we start losing an amazing faculty bestowed to us as children – the ability to wonder, which
is predominant in childhood. Scout Finch is one such child trying to understand and grapple with the events, the
experiences and the prejudices (mainly, on Arthur “Boo” Radley- a recluse misunderstood as a deranged murderer
and Tom Robinson, who is accused of raping a white girl) that are associated with such events. But her questions
on the same do more than just reflect her wonder. It makes us question our own set of beliefs and prejudices we
carry in our minds and rethink and reflect on them. Just as we get used to the world as grown ups we also lose our
ability to empathize with other’s ordeals and problems. This is quite evident, when Jem Finch, still a child, cries at
the injustice being done to Tom Robinson (in stark difference to the callousness of the adult neighborhood,) who is
pronounced guilty by the court in spite of his proven innocence. As Atticus remarks: “they (the jury)‘ve done it
again, and they did it tonight, and they ‘ll do it again and when they do it – seems that only children weep..”

Scout and her older brother, Jem, are children growing up in the backyards of small-town Alabama in the 1930s. In
this small town, Atticus Finch, the children’s father and their hero, is a well-respected lawyer. Now, the local court
has assigned Atticus to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, against a rape charge brought by a poor, white girl,
Mayella. During the trial, it becomes obvious that Tom is innocent for he is crippled in the left arm, and is thus
physically incapable of committing this crime. Although Atticus stands up against an entire town on behalf of
justice, and does a stunning job of defending Tom, a jury of twelve does not acquit him simply because he is black.
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ exposes, in a beguilingly simple, beautiful form, the irrationality and ugliness of racism.

Social/Historical context:

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is set in the 1930s in Maycomb, Alabama, a fictional Southern state of the US. In the 1930s,
racial discrimination was widespread, and commonly, openly accepted. It was at such a time that Harper Lee,
through her book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, stood up against racism in the name of honesty and justice. She created,
in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, a brave white liberal, Atticus Finch, and through him, she made a staggering point of the
dignity in trying to do the right thing even when the deck is stacked against you.

Writing Style:

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is narrated in first-person by Scout, a child of 8-years. It is divided into two parts. Part one
is full of anecdotes of the adventures and escapades of Jem and Scout, of town legends and quirky neighbors and
relatives, and of childish exploits. Part two takes on what ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is really about – racial intolerance.
Harper Lee has chosen to deal with a weighty, adult issue through the eyes of an innocent child, so it does not, at
any point, take on a sermonizing/moralizing tone. This, I believe, is one of her most compelling achievements. The
book has a beautiful flow, and Lee has created some of the most memorable characters in literature.

My Thoughts:
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a rich, poignant, and riveting novel. It teaches a basic, essential lesson – to be decent and
honorable, and to always, always, do the right thing. I loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it! It is one of those
classic classics - artful, absorbing and so, so beautiful. Atticus Finch is, quite simply, unforgettable. In one passage,
Atticus gives his children air rifles, and tells them “I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll
go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird”,
because, “….mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy”. Tom Robinson is the innocent
Mockingbird of the title – he has done no harm to the society, and yet, in the end, he had to die a brutal, pitiful
death. The climax of the trial is one of the most arresting scenes created in literature. I’d give this novel 10 stars if
I could. Pick it up. Now.

Harper Lee's coming-of-age tale, To Kill a Mockingbird, is set in the Deep South, and is a searing
portrayal of race and prejudice told through the eyes of a little girl. Filled with atmospheric
evocations of life at the height of the Great Depression of the 1930s, and underpinned by a moral and
caring sensibility, To Kill a Mockingbird is both a brilliant rendering of a specific time and place as
well as a universal tale of how understanding can triumph over old and evil mindsets.

Published in New York by J. B. Lippincott in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird is a modern-day morality


tale of how prejudice must be met, fought and overcome—no matter where it is present or how
difficult that task might seem.

Plot Summary

Scout Finch lives with her father, a lawyer and widower by the name of Atticus, and her brother, a
young boy named Jem. The first part of the To Kill a Mockingbird tells of one summer. Jem and
Scout play, make new friends, and first come to know of a shadowy figure by the name of Boo Radley,
who lives in a neighboring house and yet is never seen. A number of bad rumors surround this man
(he is rumored to be a runaway murderer who steals children), but their fair-minded father warns
them that they should try to see the world from other people's perspectives.

A young black man named Tom Robinson is accused of raping a white woman. Atticus takes on the
case, despite the vitriol this arouses in the largely white, racist townsfolk. Given the cold shoulder by
their white neighbors, the Finches are welcomed into the black community. When the time of the
trial comes around, Atticus proves that the girl that Tom Robinson is accused of raping actually
seduced him, and that the injuries to her face were caused by her father, angry that she had tried to
sleep with a black man.

Despite the overwhelming evidence provided at the trial, however, the all-white jury nevertheless
convicts Robinson; and he is later killed while trying to escape from jail. Meanwhile, the girl's father,
who holds a grudge against Atticus because of some of the things he said in court, waylays Scout and
Jem as they walk home one night. It is clear that he wants to do them harm, but they are saved by the
mysterious Boo, who disarms their attacker and kills him.

Scout finally comes face-to-face with the enigmatic and frightening Boo and realizes that he is just a
kindly man, who has been kept away from the world because of a mental disability. The lesson that
Scout learns from both Tom Robinson's fate and her new found friend, is the importance of seeing
people how they are, and not being blinded by the fears and misunderstandings of prejudice.
Major Characters

 Scout Finch: the narrator and protagonist of the story, is a six-year-old girl living with her
family in the south. Scout learns about the goodness of people as well as the dark side of
humanity.
 Jem Finch: Scout's older brother Jem serves as her protector. His presence also highlights
Scout's youthful innocence.
 Atticus Finch: Atticus is a proud, moral, respected father and lawyer in their community.
 Tom Robinson: A young man wrongly accused of rape.
 "Boo" Radley: A mysterious neighbor.

Major Themes

Coming of Age during the Depression: To Kill a Mockingbird is enormously touching and
powerful in its simplicity. Because it is narrated by young Scout, we are able to grow up with her and
come to an understanding about the world in the same way that she does, creating order from the
chaos of her everyday life.

The Plight of African-Americans in 1930s America: The novel has a courageous and powerful
political message about the downtrodden lives of African-Americans in 1930s, and the prejudice and
fear they faced every day. Tom Robinson is innocent, but he is arrested and convicted, then killed.
When she encounters blacks in their own communities, Scout is amazed by the feeling of cohesion
and happiness that these poor, oppressed people are able to muster.

Importance of Moral Consciousness: Atticus believes in the innate goodness of human beings
that pushes him to defend Tom Robinson despite the approbation of his peers. He takes on the case
despite the community's objections because he believes that there has been a serious miscarriage of
justice. At the same time, he implores his children to try and see the good in Boo Radley.

The Role of Innocence: The mockingbird of the title is a reference to innocence, an important
theme in this book. Some of the "mockingbirds" in the book are characters whose goodness is injured
or squelched: Jem and Scout, whose innocence is lost; Tom Robinson, who is killed despite his
innocence; Atticus, whose goodness is almost broken; and Boo Radley, who is judged for his strange
behavior.

Literary Style

The small, Depression-era southern town of Maycomb, Alabama provides a backdrop for a brooding
Southern Gothic theme. Harper Lee impresses upon her readers how poverty reinforces the
hypocritical nature of a race-based class system.

Beautifully written from Scout's perspective, To Kill a Mockingbird is an evocative, tender, but with
a passionate message that drives the novel's action. To Kill a Mockingbird is thus rightfully a much-
loved and much-studied classic. It is a tale of childhood, but also a tale of how the world should be
(and how we can change it): the book lives on in the hearts of those who have read it well after the
final page has been turned.
Historical Context

To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the segregated small town south of the Great Depression, where deep
levels of poverty and ignorance are conditions that drive the plot. Lee demonstrates that the people
who are caught up in the misery of ignorance and poverty resort to racism as a way to hide their own
shame and low self-esteem.

In the 1960s when the book was first published, the character Atticus Finch became a strong fictional
voice of moral consciousness in the United States, representing the ideals and hopes of the liberal
classes who hoped to see the end of segregation and racism.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books that almost everyone reads at some point in their lives.
Whether you've been forced to read it at school, or you've had a look because everyone's been urging
you to, most people have their own personal experience of reading Mockingbird.

The book is about Atticus Finch, who appears as an unconventional hero and role model due to his
morality rather than his physical capabilities. The theme of morals is apparent throughout the whole
novel, especially in relation to religion and perception of sin. Take Mrs Dubose, a recovering
morphine addict: she vows that she'll die beholden to nothing and nobody. She's pursuing her own
dream of being a free human being because she knows deep down that it's right.

To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on that gut instinct of right and wrong, and distinguishes it from just
following the law. Even the titular quote: "Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but
remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" is in itself an allegory for this message. Being in itself a
generic message, the idea of 'doing what's right' obviously has a different meaning depending on
when and where you're reading the book. If you take 1960, when the book was written, America was
in a state of ethical development as social inequality was - very - gradually being overcome. Women's
rights and black rights movements were beginning to emerge and some campaigned through
violence. Would Atticus Finch condone this?

In the 1930s, when the book was set, America was in the midst of the Great Depression. This was a
time when economic difficulties meant that the American Dream was receding further and further
away. We could consider that Atticus Finch felt that his own dream of an equal, morally decent
society was also heading in the wrong direction.

Without denying the constancy of the moral message, and the pure ingenuity of the book, it's still
open to debate whether, as with all classics, schoolchildren should be forced to read the novel and go
over it page-by-page. The beauty of literature and the reason why I love it so much is that a writer
must eventually relinquish the meaning of his or her book. Therefore everyone who reads it can take
something out of it which no one has before. I find that a beautiful notion myself, but it seems that
looking for these life lessons has become a less and less popular exercise as the years have gone by.
Let it not be forgotten that a true piece of literature, like To Kill a Mockingbird, is meaningful in
every period and that today, Atticus Finch's message should be heard in the midst of all the global
conflicts that we hear of on the news every night.

To think that children are suffering across the world because of a tyrannical regime or an unfair
justice system is a depressing notion, and I think a modern Atticus Finch would agree. I don't think
he would be comfortable knowing that innocent lives were suffering because of inequality. Atticus
would now be defending issues that Harper Lee did not consider when writing the book, such as gay
and lesbian rights, because what is at the heart of his character is an acceptance of who people are.
That is a moral standpoint that you can hold whoever you are or wherever you are born. Atticus
Finch is not xenophobic or homophobic. He's not racist or sexist. He's human and he sees everyone
else in the same way. Who knows? Maybe Atticus Finch would even be an animal rights supporter.

Should it be analysed, taught in schools and pulled to pieces? I can't say, but what I will say is I'm not
against anyone reading for the sake of reading. I've read many a book which I've enjoyed, put down
and never thought about since. But I honestly feel that Mockingbird is a book which should be read,
be it in school or in adult life (or both), without complete and utter absorption. It's a book with so
many layers of meaning that you can get so much out of it. I for one know that To Kill a Mockingbird
is a book that really has changed my life and that every time I go back over it, I find something new
that I assimilate into my own code of ethics. Going over it, whilst being an arduous task, was in the
long run worth all the time it took, and plenty more besides.

I would really advise picking up a copy of Harper Lee's magnificent novel and giving it a try. Because
whatever happens, it will never stop being a good book, and it will never stop inspiring good people.

BOOK REVIEW
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

PLOT SUMMARY
In their small Southern town, Scout and Jem Finch start out as innocent youngsters who play, attend school and
attempt to communicate with their reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley. Their lawyer father, Atticus, always proffers wise
insights for living. For example, he tells them it's a sin to kill a mockingbird, since mockingbirds do nothing harmful but
simply sing. Though a peace lover and gentleman, Atticus finds himself in the midst of fierce social turmoil as he
defends a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. The entire town becomes swept up in the trial. Scout
and Jem learn hard lessons about social inequity, personal restraint and compassion. When Boo Radley ultimately
saves the children's lives, it solidifies their resolve to care for the "mockingbirds" in their society.

CHRISTIAN BELIEFS
Scout asserts that church is their town's "principle recreation"; she says she spent long hours in church copying
chapters from the Bible, which is part of how she learned to read and write. The Finch family's most noteworthy
ancestor, Simon Finch, was a stingy and pious Methodist. Scout and a neighbor discuss the rift between the city's
"foot-washing Baptists" and non-foot washers. (The foot washers criticize a neighbor for having beautiful flowers,
because they believe anything that brings pleasure is a sin.) When the children attend church with the black
housekeeper, Calpurnia, they witness a pastor who brazenly reports some congregants' sins from the pulpit — but
also refuses to let anyone leave the church until they've given enough money to help a family in trouble.

OTHER BELIEF SYSTEMS


Prejudice — racial (the term n-gger is used repeatedly) and otherwise — plays a key role in the story. Jem tells Scout
and Dill about "hot steams," dead people who can't get into heaven so they walk around sucking out others' breath.
He also contends that if a whole stadium full of people would concentrate on the same thing at once, the object would
burst into flame.

AUTHORITY ROLES
Atticus Finch teaches his children tough life lessons by talking to them like grown-ups and by allowing them to
witness some difficult realities. His actions provide them with an example of how to show compassion to others, and
he refuses to force his children to adhere to the social expectations and class distinctions of their day. Calpurnia, a
stern but loving black woman, respects her neighbors and friends by not flaunting her ability to read and speak well.
Aunt Alexandra comes to live with the family, intending to help Atticus instill some good upbringing into the children;
Atticus makes it clear he won't allow his children to absorb her condescending opinions of others and her rigid view of
how society should operate.

PROFANITY/VIOLENCE
Jacka--, son-of-a-b--ch, d--n, h---, b--tard and godd--n whore all appear.

KISSING/SEX/HOMOSEXUALITY
A black man stands trial for raping a white woman; fairly tame accounts of the event are provided in the courtroom
scenes. Dill gives Scout quick kisses.

DISCUSSION TOPICS
Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS/NOTES
Producers often use a book as a springboard for a movie idea or to earn a specific rating. Because of this, a movie
may differ from the novel. To better understand how this book and movie differ, compare the book review
with Plugged In's movie review.
You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to
decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an
endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Author

Harper Lee

Setting

The small, Depression-era southern town of Maycomb, Alabama provides a backdrop for the
brooding Gothic theme. Harper Lee seems to impress upon her readers how poverty reinforces the
hypocritical nature of a race-based class system.

Characters

Scout: the narrator and protagonist of the story. Scout learns about the goodness of people as well
as the dark side of humanity.
Jem: Scout's older brother, Jem serves as protector. His presence also highlights Scout's youthful
innocence.
Atticus: The proud, moral, respected father.
Tom Robinson: The accused but an apparently innocent rapist.
"Boo" Radley: The mysterious neighbor.

Possible First Sentence

 Have you ever judged a person by his or her appearance?


 To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a captivating book that explores difficult topics.
 Sometimes, it takes a lot of courage to do what you feel is right.
 Things and people aren't always what they seem to be.

Possible Themes

Think about these questions and points as you read the book. They will help you determine a theme
and develop a strong thesis.

The Link Between Ignorance and Racism

Harper Lee seems to demonstrate that people who are caught up in the misery of ignorance and
poverty resort to racism as a way to hide their own shame and low self-esteem.

Casting Judgement

Scout first mimics "Boo' Radley until she discovers his kindness and bravery.

Much of the town cast judgment upon the accused Tom Robinson, despite the hard evidence to the
contrary.

The Mockingbird

The mockingbird stands for innocence in this book. Some of the "mockingbirds" in the book are
characters whose goodness was injured or squelched: Jem and Scout, whose innocence is lost; Tom
Robinson, who is killed despite his innocence; Atticus, whose goodness is almost broken; Boo
Radley, who is judged for his apparent weirdness.

Plot

The story is narrated by a young girl who goes by the name of "Scout" Finch. Scout's real name is
Jean Louise, a name that is not fitting for a tomboyish, rebellious girl like Scout.

Scout lives in the small Alabama town of Maycomb in the 1930s with her brother, Jem, and her
widowed father, Atticus. Another presence in the house is the stern but ultimately kind-hearted
African-American housekeeper named Calpurnia.

The story takes place during the depression, but the Finch family is better off than many in this small
town, as Atticus is a successful and respected lawyer.

Main Themes

Two main themes that permeate this book are judgment and justice. Scout and Jem learn lessons
about judging other people through the character of Boo Radley, a mysterious and reclusive
neighbor. Early in the story, the children poke fun at Boo, but they ultimately discover his goodness.

This theme is also present in the developments surrounding the character of Tom Robinson.
Robinson is a poor African-American field hand who is accused and tried for rape. In the process of
defending Robinson, Atticus is able to provide evidence that the young man is innocent. Nonetheless,
because of the racist nature of white society in that time and place, the young man is convicted.

CITE

Synopsis
For young Scout Finch life in the 1930's South is pretty simple. She is excited to begin school and
enjoying spending her summer playing games with her older brother, Jem, and temporary neighbor,
Dill. They love to speculate about Boo Radley, the reclusive man who lives down the street from them,
even going so far as sneaking around his house at night in hopes of getting a glimpse of him through
the window. For two years, it is an idyllic time for Scout and Jem as they simply enjoy life while slowly
learning valuable lessons from their lawyer father Atticus and their neighbors. That is, until the summer
that Atticus takes on the case of a black man accused of raping a white woman. During the trial and
after, things change for Scout and Jem in ways they never could have imagined, but through it all, they
learn what is certain to be one of the most important lessons of their young lives.

Review
I usually prefer to enjoy my reading material rather than having to parse it's deeper meaning, so I can
sometimes be rather reluctant to read books that are critically acclaimed and/or considered classics,
since they are often difficult to understand. I'd heard so many wonderful things about To Kill a
Mockingbird that I finally decided to take a chance on it when it was chosen as a book club read for the
GoodReads Readers Against Prejudice and Racism group of which I am a part. I was very pleasantly
surprised at what an easy read it was, while at the same time conveying a deep and layered message,
not only about prejudice but also about standing up for what's right, that I know will stay with me,
probably for the rest of my life. Another astonishing thing about the book to me was the number of
lighthearted if not downright funny moments it contained. This is something I never would have
expected from a book that tackled such a serious and controversial issue for its time. In my opinion,
Harper Lee is an amazing writer, and I was absolutely stunned to discover that To Kill a
Mockingbird was the only novel she ever wrote. However, I suppose there's nowhere else to go once
you've won the highest honor in the writing world, a Pulitzer Prize, and she certainly made her one shot
count in a huge way.
Young Scout Finch is the first-person narrator of the story. She is only about six or seven when it
opens, but more than two years pass by as Ms. Lee builds up to the penultimate events of the book, by
which time Scout is nine years old. She is a tomboy who's as smart as a whip and a precocious reader.
When her first grade teacher told her she had to stop reading because her daddy was teaching her all
wrong and first-graders weren't supposed to read, I had to laugh. It was ludicrously funny but also a
sad commentary on our educational system. I just loved Scout's enthusiasm for reading. She joked
that her brother, Jem, said she was born reading and she couldn't remember a time when she couldn't
read. In this way, Scout very much reminded me of myself. I thought it was fascinating how Scout, in
her child's mind, thinks of her father as old, decrepit, and thoroughly boring. She doesn't think he has
any real skills or has accomplished anything. It was an absolute joy to watch Scout's opinion of Atticus
gradually grow and change as she matures and begins to see him in an entirely new light through, not
only the big trial, but all the little things he does.
I loved Scout's relationship with her brother. She and Jem fight like siblings often do, but at the same
time they were very close. I like how Jem is a little gentleman, always looking out for Scout. It was
wonderful how closely he actually watches their father, and subtly emulates him. When their
summertime friend and neighbor, Dill, gets in on the action, these three can get into lots of amusing
mischief. Seeing the world through these kids eyes was a positively delightful experience. Dill is quite
good at creating wild yarns. I just knew he was destined to be a writer someday;-) (for anyone who
doesn't know Dill is patterned on Harper Lee's childhood friend and neighbor, Truman Capote). The
lessons that the kids learn are deeply touching. Whether it's how they go from being scared of their
reclusive neighbor Boo Radley to beginning to understand why he stays away from people; or learning
from Mrs. Dubose, the cranky old lady who likes to hurl insults at them, that things aren't always as
they seem; or the tough lessons they learned about injustice through Tom Robinson's trial, they are on
a constant journey of discovery, both of the world around them and themselves that often brought tears
to my eyes.
If I were Scout, I'd think that I had the best dad in the world, but since I'm much, much closer to
Atticus's age than Scout's, I'd have to say that he has become my latest literary crush. He is just quite
simply an amazing man. Some people think that he's a questionable father who lets his kids run wild,
because he doesn't spank them and they have a tendency to speak their mind. To the contrary, I
believe he was a man who led by quiet example, and showed his kids how to be good citizens by
teaching them to think critically for themselves. I love how Atticus just naturally speaks with "bigger"
words and doesn't dumb it down for his children, but instead allows them to ask for clarification if they
don't understand something, always answering their questions with complete honesty. That's how I
tend to be, and I think kids can learn more that way. Atticus is a very wise man who sees many facets
to the world around him. He is a kind, loving, gentle soul who always seems to see the good in people.
He's a true gentleman, a brilliant attorney, an honorable and humble man who fights for what's right no
matter what. If more men were like Atticus Finch, the world, without a doubt, would be a much better
place.
To Kill a Mockingbird is another of those books which sadly, over fifty years after its release, is still
found at the top of the ALA's most banned/challenged books list. It does contain some profanities,
mostly mild, but a couple of more moderate ones including taking the Lord's name in vain twice. There
is also a number of instances where the derogatory "n" word is used for African Americans, but given
the time and setting of the book, it never seemed overdone or out of place to me. There is also the
mature subject matter of a black man being wrongly accused of raping a white girl, but since it is all
told through the eyes of a nine year-old child, everything has a certain air of innocence to it, with
nothing ever really being spelled out explicitly. In spite of this potentially objectionable content, I still
feel that the book is fully appropriate for high school level students. In my opinion, the positive role
model that Atticus presents and the positive messages contained within the book's pages, far outweigh
any possible detractors. I personally think it would be an absolute travesty to ban a book as thought-
provoking as this one, and in fact, would encourage everyone, teens and up, to read it at least once.
I'm so glad I finally picked up To Kill a Mockingbird. The courtroom scenes were extremely well-written
and appear to reflect Ms. Lee's personal experience with the law. Some parts of the story were a little
slow at times, but never boring and always worth the wait for something more exciting to happen.
Every character and every little side story added flavor, color and depth to this wonderful tale. The
message it conveys is a timeless one. It is one of the most, if not the most, affecting book I've ever
read centering around the themes of prejudice and racism. To Kill a Mockingbird has without a doubt
earned a spot on my keeper shelf and has become a new all-time favorite book for me.

10
Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird portrays an accurate reflection of people affairs in the southern
United States during the 1930s. The story, which is set around a single-father household in rural
community Alabama, includes a vast display of symbolism to connect the main plot with numerous
subplots. Through her novel, Lee sets straight the old-fashioned Southern culture for the realism of
Southern culture. The timing of this book also matched with the early Civil Rights Movement in the United
States.

Clearly symbolic is Jem’s effort to make a snowman during the unusual Alabama snowfall. As he forms the
snow into a ball, he roles it to add more snow. While rolling the snowball it gathers up dirt giving the
snowman a dirty surface. The snowman signifies the superficiality of skin color.
To Kill a Mockingbird highlights tons of themes and represents a general story from a local viewpoint. The
overall dispute contains the obvious cry for justice, but at the same time mocks the civilization of
Southern society.

Despite the fact that slavery was ended roughly a half a century before To Kill a Mockingbird was
published, African Americans were still deprived of lots of their basic civil rights. Conditions were little
improved up to the time when this novel was published. Blacks were degraded by the Southern society by
the segregation of public bathrooms and drinking fountains, and also by forcing them to ride in the back
of the public buses. In addition, there was still discrimination within the justice system. Blacks were
excluded from juries, and could also be arrested, brought before a judge, and even found guilty with very
little reason. There have been a countless number of cases in histories past where a white individual
charged an African American of an alleged crime. This was seen throughout the book with the Tom
Robinson case. Just like the jury in past trials, the jury for the Tom Robinson case was all white and all
male; the trial was also held in a segregated courtroom.

The events dealing with race relations have a convincing connection with those in To Kill a Mockingbird,
which is set just about thirty years prior. The South was hit really hard by the Great Depression since
farming was still the way of life in the South. Small farmers, like Walter Cunningham in her novel, often
could not earn enough money to cover all their payments, let alone living expenses.

Another struggle that African Americans faced in these times was advancement in education. Schools
were segregated between blacks and whites, who were not permitted to attend white high schools.
Therefore blacks were basically denied an education since there was not a high school built for blacks at
that time. Because of this, a good percentage of African Americans did not have an education past the 5th
grade. This was lightly covered in To Kill a Mockingbird when Calpurnia tells the children that she is only
one of four members in her church who can read.

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The purpose this book served is to show how ridiculous the culture of the South was regarding
discrimination against blacks. Harper Lee gets the reader thinking, not only about the way people were
treated in the past, but how we should be treating people nowadays. The book also deals with tolerance
for diversity and standing up for what’s right. It’s about showing people, who are going through adversity,
that you care – and there’s a lot of adversity in her novel. It is the Great Depression, and some of the
community can’t pay Atticus with money, so they do the honorable thing, the only thing they can, and pay
him with the goods they produce.

Ultimately, this books’ purpose is about standing up for what you believe is right-and teaching those
values to your children, because obviously Atticus’s behavior had a huge impact on Scout and Jem. It’s
about family and extended family, and trying to hold everything together when the world seems to be
falling apart. And it’s about compassion for everyone’s humanity.

Upon finishing the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, many thoughts have filled my mind. I think
by reading this book, that perhaps Harper Lee has fulfilled her intentions with me as a reader, that I have
therefore become a better person. I find Atticus a very idealistic, moral character. He has a great sense of
humor and tries his best to raise his children as a single parent. I like how Lee used the first part of To Kill
a Mockingbird for us to get to know Atticus as a person and a father, not just as a white lawyer defending
an African American. Atticus also has strong views on the treatment of whites toward blacks; I loved what
he said in the book: “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but
let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no
matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.”

I also found the symbol of the mockingbird to be rather clever. Boo Radley and Tom Robinson were
innocent people who were judged unfairly by what people thought, not by what they knew. It’s summed
up with Atticus’ explanation of it: “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They
don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out
for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird.”

11To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the
Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on
Lee's observations of her family, her neighbors and an event that occurred near her hometown of Monroeville,
Alabama, in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The story is told by the six-year-old Jean Louise Finch.

12
This story deals with the very important and sensitive topic of racism and is told from the point of five of a little girl. I
had my doubts if this combination would work out. But somehow, Harper Lee was able to create an incredibly
compelling character, who understands and misunderstands just the right amounts to be realistic, and to get all the
major points the novel is trying to make across. It would have been easy to write from the perspective of Atticus, the
'hero' of the story. But I think this wouldn't have been the right thing to do; it would have seemed far too self-
indulgent and conceited.

13

The racial issue is powerful, particularly in such a time setting, when the N-word is thrown around haphazardly and
it's totally acceptable to denigrate people simply because of the colour of their skin. Discrimination repulses me, and I
feel physically ill reading accounts - even fictional ones - of despicable conduct towards those who are different. There
are some pretty familiar characters here, but how many of these characters are familiar because they themselves
influenced more modern work? It's no secret that this is a classic which has inspired millions of people around the
world, so I can't complain about stereotypes as I'm sure this book was quite unique when released back in the 60s.

I was a bit confused about the unrelated stories of Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. The latter is clearly the Big Issue of
this novel, but the first part of the novel barely touches on it, making for a rather confusing start to the book. I
enjoyed the childhood exploits, and it was quite well-written, but at the same time it felt a little pointless. I can
appreciate that there was a beautiful story told in Boo's regard, but it got a little tedious towards the end of Part
One. (view spoiler)

The Robinson case broke my heart. (view spoiler) Just reading about the small-mindedness of others and knowing
that, though the story is fictional, this is a real glimpse of human history - and that this kind of behaviour still exists
today - truly saddens me. At the same time, it makes the character of Atticus that much more powerful, because he is
a symbol of hope, and he is unrelenting.

There's not really much that I can say that's not already been said by appreciative readers all around the world. I
enjoyed reading this novel, and it was an easier read than I anticipated, but there are some dark moments that will
boil the blood of any decent human being. I'm glad I read it, but I doubt I'd want to read it again. Humankind really
depresses me, sometimes.

It has got me pretty curious about the sequel, though.

14

we look at the entire issue of racism from a white point of view, which basically just skims over the daily humiliations
and trials of being a black person in the segregated and racist society of the American South. The Finch family is the
primary focus of the book, especially the two children (Scout and Jem), who have no knowledge of these issues, right
till the end of the book. The legal case only takes up a small part of the book and while it makes a point about inherent
racism in the courts, it really does not dig deep into the issue.

I did like a few scenes, especially the courtroom ones. I found Mayela Ewell the most interesting character in the book
and would have enjoyed a bit more focus on her and how she felt about her life and her lies. Scout's development of a
relationship with her aunt got me interested in spite of myself. But overall, I don't think this book even does its job
properly. I found it hugely problematic that for an acclaimed novel against racism, the black characters aren't

15

I was expecting to hate this book because it was considered a ‘classic’. I know, I know. It prejudiced but I’m picky
about what I read. Anyway, I went into this with a negative mindset but was pleasantly surprised.

First, I would like to start with the audio. Sissy Spacek is a wonderful narrator. She made the book come alive with her
different accents and voices. She also gave the character’s a voice and tone that made them feel so real.

The characters felt so realistic. Atticus, Ms. Maudie and all the other adults felt so real. I really loved Atticus’s love for
his children and his wisdom. Even so, my personal favorite character was Scout. She was just so hilarious in the way
she would say rude things and not even realize she was being rude.

To be honest, for a while, I felt like there was no plot. For the first hundred pages, I almost felt like I was reading a
diary. Towards the end, we do see a sort of plot with the trial but other than that it felt kind of all over the place. It
wasn’t bad. I did enjoy reading but I felt as though there was no bones to the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. The audio was amazing; the characters were so realistic and even though I felt like
there was barely a plot, I loved reading this novel.

16

"To Kill a Mockingbird will never stop being a good book, and it will never stop inspiring good people."

Atticus Finch is not xenophobic or homophobic. He's not racist or sexist. He's human and he sees everyone else in the
same way. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books that almost everyone reads at some point in their lives.
Whether you've been forced to read it at school, or you've had a look because everyone's been urging you to, most
people have their own personal experience of reading Mockingbird.

The book is about Atticus Finch, who appears as an unconventional hero and role model due to his morality rather
than his physical capabilities. The theme of morals is apparent throughout the whole novel, especially in relation to
religion and perception of sin. Take Mrs Dubose, a recovering morphine addict: she vows that she'll die beholden to
nothing and nobody. She's pursuing her own dream of being a free human being because she knows deep down that
it's right.

To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on that gut instinct of right and wrong, and distinguishes it from just following the law.
Even the titular quote: "Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a
mockingbird" is in itself an allegory for this message. Being in itself a generic message, the idea of 'doing what's right'
obviously has a different meaning depending on when and where you're reading the book. If you take 1960, when the
book was written, America was in a state of ethical development as social inequality was - very - gradually being
overcome. Women's rights and black rights movements were beginning to emerge and some campaigned through
violence. Would Atticus Finch condone this?

17

the main point of the story lasted like five chapters and the events that happened after it seemed kind of anticlimatic.
except the last one at the end which i really thought should have maybe lasted a little longer instead of ending the
book there so abruptly??

also i really hated how so many different characters were introduced and then they just disappear forever

18
To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on that very instinct of right and wrong, and distinguishes it from just following the
law. Even the titular quote: "Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a
mockingbird" is in itself an allegory for this message. Being in itself a generic message, the idea of 'doing what's right'
obviously has a different meaning depending on when and where you're reading the book. If you take 1960 for
instance, when the book was written, America was in a state of ethical development as social inequality was - very -
gradually being overcome. Women's rights and black rights movements were beginning to emerge and some
campaigned through violence.