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To Kill a Mockingbird

November 3, 2012

I’m going to talk about a book published in 1960, entitled To Kill a Mockingbird,  and written by Harper Lee. Thanks to that book she won the Pulitzer Price in 1961.

In the 3o’s in Maycom, Alabama (one of the most segregated states) , Atticus Finch, straight and honest lawyer, raises his two children alone : Jean-Louise (Scout) and Jeremy (Jem).Atticus is prosecuting attorney to the defense of Tom Robinson, a young black adult who is accused of  rape on a white woman, Mayella Ewell, strongly defended by her father, Bob Ewell.  During a trial where Atticus puts the doubt on Tom’s culpability, he pronounces a beautiful speech on the equality of races.  Tom is unjustly condemned because it was Bob who hit his daughter because she made advances to a black man which was unforgivable at that time. Thus, Tom is put in jail. There, he tries to escape but he is caught up by his wardens.

Scout, Jem, and one of their friends Dill, are fascinated by a mysterious neighbor, Arthur (Boo) Radley who becomes withdrawn, and never gets out. Children imagine what he looks like and why he lives like that, so they’re trying to make him leave his hiding place.

In the title, the mockingbird represents Scout, who, inevitably, doesn’t  understand all the consequences as she is just a little girl; she can’t imagine how people could be so nasty…

Then, there are many motifs in the book : solidarity, imagination, friendship, respect (that is the most defending value). But also defense of blacks’ rights.

I really liked this book, because even if it’s not an original theme, this is treated in an uncommon way, because the narrator is the little girl Scout. We see the tragedy all along the book with comic scenes, and a naive point of view. This is a real breath of fresh air with tragedy. You feel emotions which are so real and so rough that you couldn’t be untouched by the book.

I strongly advise you to read this masterpiece !


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