To Kill a Mockingbird

1 05 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee

Summary:

To Kill A Mockingbird is set in Alabama, three years after the Great Depression. The story is narrated through from the perspective of six-year-old Scout Finch, who lives with her older brother Jem and their widowed father Atticus, a middle-aged lawyer. Atticus is assigned to defend a black man named Tom Robinson, who has been accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a young white woman. Although many of Maycomb’s citizens disapprove with his decision, Atticus agrees to defend Tom to the best of his ability despite putting his family and himself in jeopardy

During the trial, Atticus discovers not only that the accusers, Mayella and her father, are lying but also that Mayella was making sexual advances towards Tom and that her father caught her in the act. Despite considerable evidence of Tom’s innocence, he is found guilty nonetheless.

To Kill a Mockingbird explores various significant themes. For the reason that Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child, the impact is a hard-hitting story about race, social class, integrity, and coming of age.

Review:

To Kill A Mockingbird is definitely on my list of favorites. I feel the book does an excellent job of portraying the extreme and blatant racism that existed in the South at that time. I feel that this book makes a very powerful statement about how the justice system can be altered through racism. I also believe that the topics portrayed in the book are still relevant in our society today and that is what makes it so remarkable.  I strongly urge every one to read this book.

Why is this book “dangerous?”:

To Kill a Mockingbird has been a source of great controversy since it became the focus of classroom study as early as 1963. Racial slurs, profanity, and frank discussion of rape have led people to challenge the book’s appropriateness in libraries and classrooms across America. It was first banned in Hanover, Virginia in 1966 after a parent claimed that the use of rape as a “plot device” was morally wrong. In the late 1990s, school districts in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada attempted to have the book removed from standard teaching curriculum, stating:

“The terminology in this novel subjects students to humiliating experiences that rob them of their self-respect and the respect of their peers. The word ‘Nigger’ is used 48 times [in] the novel…We believe that the English Language Arts curriculum in Nova Scotia must enable all students to feel comfortable with ideas, feelings and experiences presented without fear of humiliation … To Kill a Mockingbird is clearly a book that no longer meets these goals and therefore must no longer be used for classroom instruction.”

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