“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.”
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
On February 19th of 2016, a little over a year ago, the world lost one of the most important American novelist in history. Nelle Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama in the mid 1920’s and in 1960 her award winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird (281 pages) was first published. The book is inspired by events that transpired in Lee’s hometown when she was a child, many of the characters and plot points are inspired by real people and events. After writing To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee reportedly started a handful of projects but never finished any of them. However, in the summer of 2015 a previously unreleased book, written before To Kill a Mockingbird, named Go Set a Watchman was published.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a story that revolves around a court trial in a small Alabama town during the Great Depression. The plot follows a lawyer, his kids, their friend, a wrongfully accused black man, and a reclusive neighbor. The book is known for its themes of empathy, race, morality, prejudice, etc. Perhaps the most significant theme however is the loss of innocence, innocence often represented by the symbol of a mockingbird.
“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but . . . sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
I thoroughly enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird and definitely would recommend reading it if you haven’t already. The two reasons I decided to read it was because all my friends had read it and for the most part enjoyed the read, and because it was ranked number one on a list of all time 100 best novels made by Time Magazine. I now understand exactly why the book is so popular amongst teachers, students, avid readers, and those who seldom read alike, and regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, I hope you’ll read it as well.