To Kill A Mockingbird is a stand on humanity and unyielding radicalism that would have made the Lincolns, the Gandhis, the Blytons and the Martin Luther King’s so proud!!! Prejudice seems all the more ruminating when told through the eyes of a girl, unwilling to grow into an adult. Written by young American lass, much before the madness of feminism took over in the late 60’s, the novel rocked the English world with a deeply moving narration.
Here’re some amazing minutiae that makes To Kill A Mockingbird the best novel of the bygone century.
Amazing fact about the Book
An inspiring note from her friends, The Browns on Christmas of ’56, pushed her to write the novel. One year wage with a deadline to get a novel on floor, the first draft of To Kill A Mockingbird was complete by 1958. After elaborate editing and precision narrative, Nelle managed to complete the novel by summer of ’59.
Lee titled the book on mockingbirds as it has a humbling connection with killing them for fun for no reason. Going by Harper Lee’s life, her father too had represented two black men but failed to save them from the execution. Jem is literal personification of her younger brother.
In a way, before the book came out, Lee had already lived her narration through Scout’s eyes.
Living with the Author
Much before her fiery novel was published in 1960, Nelle Harper Lee had a rather modest life. Born to educated parents in Monroeville, Alabama, The United States on April 28, 1926, Nelle’s tryst with writing and editing was for her college magazine, Ramma-Jamma followed by few long stories.
5 Remarks you can’t miss in the book
The story matures with the experiences of the Finch kids. When they see injustice, they seek redemption despite testing times.
1. Where do babies come from?
Innocence flows when the kids enquire about baby’s trip to earth. The instances where kids remark that babies are ordered from a lonely island and then being dropped by God in to a chimney reflect humour and pure incorruptibility.
2. Black Stereotypes
The way Harper projects the stereotypic upheaval of the Blacks is condescending yet true to the core. It stirs the inner core of the readers when a Negro is projected as liar, immoral and inhuman. In the very next line, she mentions the traits are not of any particular race of men, but the entire mankind.
Missing inspiration in life, snatch the book from the shelf and go for these lines and the events they signify.
- “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
- “The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”
- “Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)... There are just some kind of men who - who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”
- “Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.”
- “People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.”
The Setting of the Story
An intoxicating concoction of how whites look down upon the Negros and blame them for all the evils there is in the world, To Kill A Mockingbird takes the reader on an exploration of the gory shades of human behaviour. From innocence to cruelty, the setting of the story is set in Maycomb, Alabama. Not many know that the central characters in the novel are inspired from Harper Lee’s maternal side. Her mother’s maiden name was Finch. Set in Southern United States, the story revolves around Scout Finch, a tomboy who lives with her brother Jem and widowed father Atticus in a fictitious city.
The Quest to Lure Boo
Boo is a mysterious character in the novel, named Arthur Radley. In a quest to find the complexities of Arthur’s life Scout, Jim and another kid named Dill try different routes to understand the neighbourhood in their own way. Scout’s character is a reflection on the society that demands her to endure a lady-like poise.
Representing a Black Criminal
Hell breaks loose on the kids when Atticus Finch takes up a case to defend a black criminal accused of raping and hurting a white woman. Facing racial slurs and invectives from other kids and families in the neighbourhood, Scout and Jem begin to lose their temper and love for others. Enter Aunt Alexandra who teaches Scout some valuable lessons on morality and philosophies of feminism with some provoking results.
True and flabbergasting, isn’t it!
The name: When you hurt a Mockingbird, you hurt the idea of being Human. It defeats the purpose of being a man. Every persecuted human being is a mockingbird grasped from its neck.