In eighth grade, we read To Kill A Mockingbird. I think that my teacher wanted us to read this because it contains many themes that are important for us to be aware of.
This book is historical fiction and many aspects of it are based on the Scottsboro Boys. This book is set in Maycomb, a small county in Alabama, in the early 1940s. Harper Lee, the author, also grew up in a small town in Alabama. This book is from the point of view of a six-year-old who, when writing this, is an adult. The book starts out with the first person narrator, Scout, us the history of Maycomb and how her family came to live there. Many people say that the first few chapters are very boring, I say that you should pay attention to them because they are very important and give you a good idea of the setting. Scout has an older brother, Jem, and a father, Atticus. Atticus is a lawyer and treats the children as equals. The story gets interesting when we learn about a creepy, suspicious neighbor that lives next door to Scout and Jem. We learn about this character’s supposed past and the children make up stories about him. Soon after, a more serious topic gets brought up; we learn an African American man is accused of rape. The events following this change the children’s lives and haunt their future.
One of the characters in this book is named Atticus. He is Scout and Jem’s father. His children refer to him as “Atticus” instead of “Father”). I think this is because they have a lot of admiration and reverence for him. He is an only parent but isn’t constantly there for his children. His children are mostly looked after by Cal, their maid. Cal is black, so it’s comforting that he treats Cal as an equal and teaches the kids to respect her. This tells us a lot about him. He has good morals and is able to stay calm in tough situations. Atticus stands up for what he believes in and knows that violence isn’t helpful to most causes. I would love to meet Atticus and have an in-depth conversation with him. It would be sooo interesting to learn about his experiences during that time period.
I’d rate this book a 4.5/5. Though the writing doesn’t flow as nicely as it does in a book like Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, I really like the perspective. It’s engrossing to see the way a young, white girl reacts to different things surrounding racial inequality toward Black men. The plot is predictable yet it still manages to be breathtaking. I definitely recommend this book to everyone, especially young readers.
This book is similar to the Scottsboro Boys because this story is about a Black man being accused of raping a white woman. There are other similarities to the Scottsboro boys, but I don’t want to spoil the story for you. This book also reminds me of many stories in the news that I hear about that concern justice in our courts. I have never read a book about racism from the point of view of a young white person. This is definitely not a perspective I’m used to. Though this book is similar to many stories in the way that it has the theme of racism, I’m not used to this point of view, so I find it hard to connect this book to others things.
I think that there are many themes in this story. One overarching theme is empathy. Atticus teaches his children to empathize with many of the characters in this book. As readers, we learn from him and are then able to understand characters really well. Another theme in this book is character development. Because the narrator and her older brother are still children, they change a lot throughout the book. In books with mainly adult characters, there generally isn’t a lot of character development. I really enjoy watching both Jem and Scout change throughout this book. They learn many skills that will help them throughout their lives. Being exposed to racism (not as someone who is a victim of racism, but a bystander) and having a father to tell them what is right and wrong has allowed Jem and Scout to grow up very fast. Racism is a strong theme in this book and is usually the most recognized theme, but I think that the biggest theme is innocence in general. In this book, mockingbirds symbolize innocence. There are so many mockingbirds in this book and so many lines that we can draw between characters, that they start to blur when we explain them too much. The main point is that “it is a sin to kill a mockingbird.” There are multiple deaths of innocent characters in this book and Harper Lee, the author, did an amazing job connecting characters and showing themes of racism and, through that, innocence.
- 1. Why did you choose this book?
- 2. Explain the plot of the book, or if it is a non-fiction book, what topics are covered.
- 3. Describe one of the characters in the book. Would you want to meet this character? Why or why not?
- 4. What is your opinion of the book? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?
- 5. Explain how this book is similar to another book, film, story, or article that you have read or seen. What connections or comparisons can you make?
- 6. What do you think the main idea or theme of this story is? What is the author trying to tell you about life or our world with this book?
Thanks for reading!Please check out some of my other posts to get good reading suggestions. Feel free to comment below!