Classic Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

13 November 2014

By Lauren E. White

The book that will undoubtedly touch your heart in every way possible. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was Harper Lee’s only novel – and what a novel it is.

For over 50 years the classic has been read by 30 million people across the world and has touched the lives of pretty much everyone who read it. There is a reason why this phenomenon of literature is taught across secondary schools around the UK, and that is because it’s quite frankly a work of art.

Set in America in the 1930s and narrated by the wonder of a character that is Scout Finch, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is really an example of how it was to grow up in a time where places like Maycomb County where Scout grew up was rife with racism and prejudice.

Scout and her brother Jem are the children of widowed lawyer Atticus Finch – a man whose morals and views were unfortunately well ahead of his time.

The Finch siblings are intelligent and very adventurous, spending summer after summer attempting to figure out the mystery lying behind Boo Radley’s reclusive behavior. They are accompanied by Dill, who soon becomes their best friend and the reason why they loved summer more than school.

However, their simple lives filled with fun and love is horrifically interrupted after their father is put in charge of defending the case of Tom Robinson – a black man charged with the rape of Mayella Ewell, a white woman. The plot unfolds and the Finch siblings undergo months of scrutiny as their father proceeds to do his job – one that nobody else in Maycomb would ever dare to.

Atticus Finch is one of the most famous icons in the history of literature and as he defends the mockingbird that is Tom Robinson, he teaches his children about the unjust judgments most people in Maycomb have on others who are of a different race or live a different life.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ explores the horrors and extremities of those who are harshly discriminated against and those who dare to speak out about what they believe in – all of it told through the actions and teachings of Atticus Finch – the bravest man who ever lived.

Lee’s novel is one that touches hearts and breaks them – it’s powerful and unlike any book I have ever read before. There’s a reason why it has stuck with readers in every corner of the globe for so many years and only by reading it will you discover that reason for yourself.

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