Recently finished this and in all honesty I don’t know why it took me so long to actually read it. Is is a surprise to me that being 17 I have only just got round to reading this as it is now probably one of my favourites.
It addresses racism in the South of America, particularly Alabama and shows the trial of a black man. In a case where it is a black man’s word against a white man’s and a very logical explanation, it shows how so many people would have been prejudiced. It shows the idea that people don’t know their prejudice. It shows one man going against what people were meant to think and trying hard to defend one black man. The novel highlights how so many people could think it was right to see an innocent man in prison but openly say that they hated Hitler. The nine-year-old girl in this book appears to have more sense than many of the adults and says that her school teacher is a hypocrite and does not fully understand her reasoning for her views on Hitler.
This book was written by Harper Lee and has been her only novel. Something I thoroughly enjoyed about this book was many of the characters. Especially Atticus, who I thought was very wise and was almost as though the author was using him to express her own opinions. It had a reason for everything and had clearly pondered on his thoughts, a quality I liked in him. Also I liked his point about how men are not born equal. It is an interesting point and blows Communism out of the water. It interests me because it is true and probably one of the sole reasons why Communism can never work, even if someone really wants it to. Everyone has different talents and different ideas and different personalities. There are no two people in the world completely the same as their experiences will be different and their interests will be too. On this basis we aren’t created equal as we are all different and that is a good thing because it shows how we are all created to do different things and achieve different things. If we were created equal we would all be the same, hence showing how our society would not work as we would all be as good as each other, we need people who are better than us. As much as we probably, even though it is horrible, need people who are also worse than us.
Scout was another of my favourite characters, I thought Lee captured childhood curiousity almost perfectly. I thought Scout showed a lot more understanding than everyone, apart from Atticus, gave her. It shows how children retain more information than you perhaps expect them too. People seem to forget childhood. I liked the quote from this novel where Scout says that she was “born good but has grown progressively worse”.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone. Compared to the other American Literature I have read, this is probably my favourite. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did and a part of me was maybe only reading it because I felt like I ought to.