To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books that almost everyone reads at some point in their lives. Whether you’ve been forced to read it at school, or you’ve had a look because everyone’s been urging you to, most people have their own personal experience of reading Mockingbird. It’s one of my absolute favs!
Set in the American South, Alabama, Lee masterfully spins a tale of prejudice and ignorance of equality through the young yet intelligent eyes of a little girl, our central character, Scout Finch. “Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” – a lawyer’s advice to his children while he defends the real mockingbird in this story, Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white girl. In the time of the Great Depression when rights for black people had only just been won, the odds are cruelly turned against Tom and his lawyer Atticus Finch.
But inequality is everywhere, not just in court. Seen and heard by Scout and her brother Jem in their very own neighbourhood in Maycomb, hidden in snide comments and everyday actions. Family name, colour, race, background – all values that the adults of Maycomb hold so dear. It only takes a child with an open mind to see how very wrong they are.
The characters in To Kill a Mockingbird are vividly drawn to build an entire world. The beliefs and faults of the Deep South in the thirties are humorous and yet not only make the reader think, but teach them of how people used to think of race in the past, and how foolish this way of thinking was.
Harper Lee uses fiction to show what real courage is, not “a man with a gun in his hand” but “when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what”.
You could win a copy of Harper Lee’s iconic To a Kill A Mockingbird & perhaps some wine for Christmas cheer!
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