What with all the commotion going on in relation to this book, and due to the fact that I have never read it, I thought it high time I should buy myself a copy.
“Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.
“Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
The narrator of the novel is Scout Finch, a young girl who tells the story of her life in Maycomb County, Alabama, between the ages of six and eight. Scout lives with her older brother, Jem, and their widowed father, Atticus. Along with their friend Dill, the children are obsessed with the spooky house on their street in which the Rad,ey’s live. While they are not afraid of Nathan Radley, his brother, Arthur “Boo” Radley, is the one the children have nightmares about.
The novel demonstrates many issues during the 1950s, including the issue of race and class. Atticus is a lawyer, and takes on a case defending a black African-American, who is being accused of rape. Atticus has to stand up to what he believes in – equality and the right for freedom no matter what colour of the skin – but he receives hate from the town of Maycomb, including death threats.
I thought the title was odd, as it doesn’t seem to resonate with any of the issues in the book. However, the idea of the mockingbird is extremely symbolic and representative. The idea of innocence is played with throughout the novel, especially as it is narrated through the eyes of a child. The mockingbird represents the children but also Tom Robinson, the black man who has been accused of rape. Without giving away too much of the plot, Tom comes across as very childlike during his court case, with minimal understanding of what he did wrong. To kill a mockingbird would be to destroy innocence. There are a number of characters who demonstrate this loss of innocence, including Scout’s father. Even “Boo” Radley, the terrifying neighbour who never leaves his house, is associated with a mockingbird at the end of the novel, when Scout claims to shoot him would be like “shooting’ a mockingbird”.
I absolutely LOVED this novel, and I’m a bit wary to read “Go Set a Watchman” because of the varied reviews. I can see why this book will always be a classic, and I hope people go on to enjoy for many more years.
Overall rating: 6/5
Next Review: As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner.
Also, on a celebratory note, this is my 50th blog post and I’m so glad this post was about such an incredible book!