To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Published by Harper Perennial Modern Classics on May 23, 2006
Genres: Classics, Fiction, Historical, Historical Fiction
Length: 324 pages Source: Barnes & Noble
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The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
I think every child in the American school system has read this book. English teachers love it for its metaphors, and even the roughest students tolerate it for its charm. I last read this book in my tenth grade English Honors class, sitting at a table with two friends. Our teacher encouraged us to draw pictures of the things that stood out to us, and in that way, the book was made more accessible to us. I vividly remember my friends and I doodling Scout in her ham suit, and Dill with his duck-fluff hair (we were horrified that this failed to come through in the movie version).
What is there to say about To Kill a Mockingbird that hasn’t been said before? Being a classic, it has been torn about by people whose opinions feel so much more valid than mine. It’s historical importance has been touched upon time and again as Atticus’ position as the lawyer of a “colored man” puts him in the position of an ethical dilemma, one in which he makes all the right decisions imaginable. In fact, Atticus himself has been revered through time as one of the greatest literary characters in history.
What caught my attention in the reading of the book, though, was not the character of Atticus – it was the character of Boo Radley. Boo was Scout’s adventure, a mystery, an urban legend in his own way. Perhaps his mysterious demeanor is what makes him so attractive to the inquisitive reader. Certainly everybody has their own opinions about Boo, whereas in the case of the trial, the story in black-and-white.
I think that everyone has their own story about To Kill a Mockingbird. Even in the technology era, the story has been embedded into our society. There are too many important themes, memorable characters, and unraveled mysteries in the story for us to ever let it be forgotten.