I realise that this novel has been ruined for many people through the education system: I am sorry for that. Many otherwise blameless and enjoyable experiences have been destroyed via injudicious application of essay questions, and the resentful hunt for textual symbolism. I was lucky to have my honest enjoyment of To Kill a Mockingbird unscarred by such schooling experiences. As a result, I found it a beautifully voiced, well-written, gravely significant novel.
Culturally I found it one-sided; written from the perspective of Scout, a comparatively affluent white child, it ignores the presence of members of the black community (barring Calpurnia) for most of the book. The wrongfully accused Tom Robinson is a rarely-seen or heard fulcrum upon which the action of the novel pivots, and arguably these impressions are what Harper Lee intended when she wrote the novel, based loosely upon events from her childhood. Winning the Pulitzer prize in its first year of publication, To Kill a Mockingbird explores issues of racial and class inequality, rape, gender roles, courage and innocence, in what has been the author’s only written work to date.
It is so famous a work… I feel that its story has leaked into the public consciousness, becoming part of that core of literary works which, when named, nine out of ten passersby will say, “I know that. It’s about…”, in much the same way that everyone knows Romeo and Juliet is about unlucky lovers, and the necessity of not jumping the gun (and learning how to take a pulse) when mired in apparently-tragic circumstances.
K.L gives To Kill a Mockingbird 5 out of 5. Nothing less could be said of it. The novel was brilliant: reading it won’t be a literary struggle, only an emotional one.
That’s what we read for, isn’t it?
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Like reading? K.L. has published her first novel, The Fall of Peter Pan. Be entertained!
Like poetry? K.L. has also published a collection of poems, The Loaded Brush. Find it here. I promise not to make you search for metaphors.