A couple of months ago I finished Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, but I didn’t have time to write about it! (I’ve got a fair few books that I’m behind on reviewing, so I might do one a week.)
Anyway! I can sincerely say that it is hands down one of the most real books I’ve ever read. (And I’ve read a lot of books!)
Exploration of gender roles, images of innocence, and of course racial and class inequalities and injustice all make up the bulk of this novel. Written through the eyes of Scout, a young, playful, girl who challenges gender stereotypes by being what you may call a ‘tomboy’, Harper Lee creates this Southern Gothic story and addresses all of these important issues – through the voice of a child.
Mixing in the playful fantasies that Scout and her big brother Jem dream up about their elusive neighbour Boo Radley, to suddenly switching to a serious court case wherein black male Tom Robinson is being accused of sexually assaulting nineteen year old Mayella Ewell, a case of black vs white – which was always going to go one way. This results in an innocents death, in which the moral main character of the novel, whom everyone looks up upon – Atticus Finch – works so hard to defend.
Atticus Finch, who has the viewpoint that we all should have on each other.
In reading up more about it I came across the term ‘Southern Gothic’, which was new to me. I love the gothic genre, and have studied it twice, so it makes sense as to why I love this book so much! Other Southern Gothic authors are Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote, which are two authors I already highly favour. It pleasantly surprised me when I found out that Harper Lee and Capote were good friends, and that she actually accompanied him whilst he was working on In Cold Blood, which is crazy because when I first started reading TKAMB, the in-depth description of the place, settings, characters and society really did remind me of ICB.
Everyone should give this a read if you haven’t already, because it is still just as relevant now as it was when it was first published in 1960 coming off the back of the Civil Rights/Rosa Parks movement, and it is sincerely just a really enjoyable read.
– Nicole Tallow