I’ve finally finished our September read and my final opinion of this one is FAR from where I thought it’d end up.
To Kill a Mockingbird has been on my list for a long time. But for reasons too long and boring to explain, it was never covered in any of my English courses. I’ve been hearing for years about what a classic it is, and I’ve always wanted to cross it off my list. I’m very glad I finally did.
However, it took me a lot longer to get through than I thought it would. Truly, it wasn’t until about 200 pages in that I started to like it. Those first hundreds of pages were entertaining, yes. But they seemed aimless. Meandering stories of a young girl and her brother going on playful adventures in the summertime. Although, with the scene set for such a childhood, it makes what happens in the later half of the novel that much more powerful. It just takes a little while to see what all those stories are leading up to… 200 pages to be exact.
But as soon as I hit the trial of Tom Robinson I was hooked and breezed through those last 176 pages. And the story was made all the more beautiful by the narrator. To view the events of this book through the eyes of Scout Finch is to see the world from a lost perspective. Beyond the obvious themes of racial injustice, prejudice, fear, and hate, it was the loss of innocence that I thought was written most powerfully.
“How could they do it? How could they”
“I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it—seems that only children weep. Good night.”
As I’m sure was Lee’s intention, Scout is the personification of childhood innocence, and by default reminds me of my daughters. That pure view of the world that we’re all born with is precious. But it’s hard to raise children, day by day, and know they won’t live all of their days with such a kind view of the world. Sadly it ends. I CAN wait to see that day arrive. When the world eventually chips away at their childhood. At least when that day comes maybe our world will be a kinder place than it is now, and hopefully they’ll keep a little faith in people. I hope to raise optimists.
“Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things… Atticus, he was real nice…”
His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me.
“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”
All-in-all… I loved this book. I didn’t think I would at first, but the evolution of Scout’s story was so universal and significant that I came to the end wanting to read it all over again. If you haven’t read this one yet, definitely give it a try!