Summer Work – Review of To Kill a Mockingbird.

When first introduced to the well-known novel To Kill a Mockingbird at GCSE, I was quite apprehensive. Not being something I would usually choose, I couldn’t image myself getting into it. However after reading the book and closely analysing a number of aspects within the novel, I loved the characters and story line and have enjoyed reading it a number of times ever since. Set in the early 1930’s, Harper Lee covers a number hurdles we encounter in life, such as growing up, morals and the most important cultural aspect – race.

Told through the young eyes of Scout Finch, we learn about her innocent, naive character and the number of struggles through a time when prejudice was at the root of judgement of others. Atticus Finch, her father, receives criticism for not bringing her up with female ettiquette and the classification of someone depending on how much money they had during the hard time of The Depression. He is also talk of the town for defending Tom Robinson – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Scout looks up to her father greatly, forever curious and full of questions, so when small Maycomb town start behaving quite coldly to her highly respected father she has every right to become inquisitive. The novel follows Atticus’ fight for Tom Robinson to prove he is innocent but even with all evidence to prove his freedom, the simple division between black and white results in a heartbreaking ending. Along side this, Scout with her brother Jem and friend Dill go on their own adventures to explore the mystery of Boo Radley, someone whom is avoided being spoken about and never seen. Yet at the end of the novel, it turns out he ends up saving little Scout. Without giving too much away, Lee sends out the important message of the ignorance of prejudice with the memorable quote of “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

The novel explores culture greatly through the eyes of prejudice. It explains the huge divide between people in the 1930’s, yet this was simply the way in which they lived and saw this as normal. Atticus received great criticism as he believed in standing up for what was right, regardless of the majority who turned away from black people. He went against everyone in order to prove the poor man’s innocence, but prejudice then was just too strong – making the story genuinely heartbreaking.

Admittedly, analysing the book and the underlying themes along with important quotes and messages, I was able to understand the book a lot better than I may have done if I had read it alone therefore it may not be suitable for younger audiences. However this best seller and winner of a huge number of awards has been known to reduce many readers to tears with such a strong message that sticks with you and really opens your eyes. Each character has such an interesting and unique personality which you learn to love through the book, a really enjoyable read that I would recommend to many.

Here is a positive review of the book written in The Guardian ‘by kids, for kids’ with a summary of “this story is a lasting one with characters that are remembered long after the last page is read”.

http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2013/jun/29/review-harper-lee-to-kill-a-mockingbird

Here is another positive review written by writer Roshi Fernando, described as a ‘book of a lifetime’. Interestingly, she introduced the book to her daughters who were similar ages to the children Scout and Jem who loved it, showing the book is suitable for a huge range of ages.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/book-of-a-lifetime-to-kill-a-mockingbird-by-harper-lee-7545601.html

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~ by victoriasimkissphotography on July 19, 2013.

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