Thursday, April 10, 2008

Review: To Kill a Mocking bird


To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Published by Vintage, The Random house group
0 099 46673 2


I’ve just finished reading this as an aid to helping my son define different types of prejudice encountered through the book, so I thought I’d write a short review of it while I was at it.


To Kill a Mockingbird was originally published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize.


Set in Alabama in the 1930’s, it is a stark look at the culture and the prejudices that prevail in southern America through the eyes of a little girl.


Her family is white, and live in Maycomb. It is an old community with most white families able to trace their heritage back a common group of ancestors. The little girl – Jean Louise, is of the first generation that probably wont be marrying a second cousin.


Her dad, Atticus Finch, is the local member of the state legislature, and the incumbent public defender in this narrow minded town.


He is given a case to defend a black man against allegations of raping a white woman.


The story is split into two parts. The first details Jean Louise and her brother Jem, growing up without a mother. They have a fascination for the local recluse and the story goes into depth of their adventures into trying to get Boo Radley to come out into the light of day.


The first section also weaves the background into the tale, highlighting the differences between different folk and the social class structure that was in place.


The second part of the book deals with the trial and repercussions, of a racists America, and shows the first glimpses of people realising how wrong it was.


This novel has always been on school reading lists around the world and is considered a timeless classic. Although the language is occasionally hard to decipher, it is still an excellent read.

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