Saturday, August 13, 2005

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird

It is almost true to say that I was embarrassed into reading this book. I got sent one of those lists of "a hundred greatest novels" or something, and when I mentioned I hadn't read this to several people, I was mocked(!) for ignoring one of the greatest pieces of literature ever.

And indeed it is. It's an easy read, but filled with discussion points and great thoughts and ideas - a quick Google search on the title will bring you up dozens of pages discussing it, because it is so often (in Britain at least) picked for English students.

It centres on attitudes to racism, through a rape trial in a small town in the Deep South. What makes it superb, is that the racism, and the attitudes of the townsfolk - racist, liberal or black are described through the naive but hopeful eyes of Scout, an eight year old girl.

Scout's innocence helps emphasise the absurdity and awfulness of racism, and makes the outcome of the trail even more distinct.

Read this novel before you're embarrassed too. Oh, anyone know if it's ever taught in the Deep South today?


Stefanie said...

I love Atticus Finch. I used to wish he was my Dad. Don't tell my real Dad though :) If you can, watch the black and white movie version with Gregory Peck. It is a well done film that stays close to the heart of the book.

Can't say if the book is taught in the South. I can say it is taught in California and the Midwest.

Anonymous said...

It was taught in south Texas back in the mid-eighties, which is when I was in junior high there. It's a terrific read, if memory serves.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure readers will be saddened to have heard the news of the death of Brock Peters, who famously played Tom Robinson, in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird that Stefanie refers to. The Guradian Obituary is here,,1558276,00.html