Publisher: Arrow Publications
Author: Harper Lee
Release Date: First published on 11 July 1960
Pages: 312 pages
Genre(s): Fiction, Classic, Young Adult
Reviewed by: scoro
Through the eyes of a gutsy six year old Scout, the author carries us on an odyssey filled with injustice and prejudice. Scout lives with his elder brother Jem and widowed father Atticus Finch in a small “sleepy” fictitious town called Maycomb, Alabama. Atticus raises his children along with the help of his black housekeeper named Calpurnia. Slowly and steadily Jem and Scout understands the complexities of their neighbours. The only neighbour though, who draws their attention is Arthur Radley nicknamed Boo, who doesn’t come out of his house. So in the summers, Dill a nephew of their neighbour, Jem and Scout, all three of them try various pranks to lure Boo out of his house.
As the story progresses Jem and Scout comes to know about their father representing a black man named Tim Robinson who has been accused of raping a white girl. This however makes Jem countering barrage of racial slurs and insulting comments because of Atticus’ role in the trial. Tired of all the tomboy attitude from Scout, Uncle Jack and Aunt Alexandra comes into the scene to teach Scout how to be more feminine. After having destroyed Mrs. Dubrose’s plants Jem is sentenced to read to her every day for one month. This was a powerful lesson for both Jem and Scout as they got to know more about the brevity of Mrs. Dubrose. Soon the trial begins, and Atticus gets an open threat from Bob Ewell, a nasty drunkard whose daughter was the one who accused Tom, for insulting and humiliating him in front of all the people.
As the curtains were drawn close the trial ends with bewildered and shocking verdict. Atticus explains to Jem and Scout why the jury’s decision was in many ways forgone conclusion. Soon after the trial was over Scout learnt achieving the ideal of womanhood and how to carry oneself in the face of adversity after she was informed that Tom was killed while escaping from prison.
However the story moves on with one last part left in it. Scout bagged the role of a ham in a Halloween pageant. With Atticus and Aunt Alexandra too tired to attend, Jem steps in . After embarrassing herself on the stage she decided to leave the costume there. While walking back home a scuffle took place amidst the dark. In this process Jem broke his arm after being pushed away and Scout felt uneasy as someone was trying to squeeze her arms hard. Without knowing what had happened Scout found herself in her house with Boo standing right in front of her. There sheriff was also present at the house, announcing that Bob Ewell is dead after having stumbled upon his own knife. Although it was known to the sheriff that Boo had saved Jem and Scout’s life and was also responsible for killing Bob, yet he refused to press charges against Boo.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” which was first published in 1960 still finds its relevance in today’s ultra-modern world. Most of us live in the society where there is injustice, bigotry, corruption and the list goes on but few only stand up against these big hurling problems to fight for others, Harper Lee has elegantly portrayed the same issues when the Southern State of USA was clouded by racism, predisposition, and hatred. There was no end to the debaucheries of the White men over the Black and even after so many years this is what makes this book resonate with today’s world.
We see the 1932 Alabama through the inquisitive eyes of Jean Louis “Scout” Finch. Scout’s innocence and her affection towards her brother Jem is sometimes depicted in the form of humour and simplicity. We also get to see the coherence of Scout and Jem Finch several times such as understanding the intricacies of the world even though being young.
However, the central character of the story is Atticus Finch. Atticus is a strong willed person, a loving father and most importantly a man with principles. Atticus extends his morals to his children at their time of needs. Atticus taught us to be empathetic and take a stand against the wrong because if we don’t, our conscience will prick and we’ll regret forever.
The story is gripping and will continue to fascinate you till the very end. The writing is neat, simple yet every word of it has small significance which makes the story even more intriguing.
The story deeply moves one’s conscience and it is definitely a must read for those who have a sense of justice in them, yet they don’t find the courage to stand up against wrong. It’ll definitely give some wonderful insights and change broaden your perspective towards humanity.