Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is related from the point of view of an 8 year old girl, Scout Finch. Scout and her brother, Jem have a pet game, trying to draw out Boo Radley, a ghostly neighbour who never leaves his house. While they are busy with school and play, their little town of Monroeville is rocked by a scandal. A poor white girl has accused a black man of sexually assaulting her.

Now Monroeville is a conservative town during the late 50s and enlightenment has not touched it yet. It is up to Atticus Finch to try his best to serve justice and try and rescue an innocent man from slander and prejudice.

As is with all amazing books, the story is never just what it seems, but has many layers of meanings that is up to the readers to unfold. There are endearing glimpses into parenting, learning, playing, respecting the rights of other individuals, developing sensitivity to others.

"Once I got to know him, I found he wasn't a bad person." Shares Scout with her father. "All people are good, once you get to know them" says Atticus simply. This displays the deep humanitarian message that underlays the novel. Whether it is the misguided, wretched Ewells, or the seemingly fierce Cunninghams, or the overly strict Aunt, or a sick neighbour who seems wicked, but is actually battling a deadly morphine addiction, all these characters are dealt with such a skillful touch that you can't hate them, no matter what their flaws.

The novel comes alive under the magical touch of Harper Lee, and try as you might, you cannot shake its characters from your mind. And forever, Scout playes with Jem and Dill and tries to bring out Boo Radley, while Atticus smokes and reads in a rocking chair inside the house, various neighbours call out, and Calpurnia cooks in the kitchen.

This timeless book continues to enthrall its readers year after year.

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