Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I'm Booking It in 2010: To Kill A Mockingbird
As I stated last week, I'm on a mission to read the 100 Best Novels over the next few... well... years. So when I saw this link-up at Life As Mom, I knew I had to link up. In case you're wondering, I just love linking posts up to something!
Last month, I actually read one of the books on the list: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Somehow, I was the only kid in America who didn't read the book in middle school or high school. In fact, last month was the first time I'd read the book, and, boy, was it good.
Obviously, the racial themes have been well documented, and, in fact, I was expecting a little more about segregation and the racial divide in the South than the book contained. Perhaps my view is skewed, though, because I was on a Toni Morrison-Alice Walker kick a few months ago. Regardless, I didn't think that racism, per se, was the primary point of the novel.
What struck me most was the prevalence of the mockingbird motif throughout the entire novel. From Tom Robinson, the black man Atticus Finch defends, to Boo Radley, the recluse that Scout and Jem torment, the constant theme appears to be that it would be cruel to kill something that is innocent and harmless. For that reason, Atticus defends Tom Robinson, and for that reason, the sherrif chooses to keep the true story of Scout and Jem's rescue by Boo Radley secret. Ruining innocence is the chief crime in Lee's universe.
Anyway, my favorite character was definitely Dill, who inspired Scout and Jem to endless hours of summer fun. A minor character, Dill was nonetheless entertaining, and he provided some comic relief at times when the novel's events got intense. Besides, I later found out that his character was based on Truman Capote, who was a childhood friend of Harper Lee. WOW!
These are just some quick thoughts on the novel. I could continue for hours and paragraphs, but I figure this isn't the forum for that...