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Comments for To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird : 05/08/14
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has become one of those books taught in high school English classes. It wasn't taught at my school, so I didn't get around to reading it until a friend gave me a used (and high-lighted) copy.
Jean-Louise Finch, aka Scout, and her older brother, Jem, live with their unconventional lawyer father, Atticus. They play with their neighborhood friend Dill and they taunt their special needs next door neighbor, Arthur "Boo" Radley.
Though there is a "ripped from the headlines" trial involving a black man accused and convicted of rape even though everyone knows he didn't (and couldn't have) done it, most of the book is episodic. Really this novel is more a series of carefully contrived episodes where Scout learns important, after school special type, life lessons.
I can see why so many schools teach this book. As it stands on its own, outside of the classroom, the text is heavy handed.
Comment #1: Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 22:41:57
It's interesting to see the reactions first-time readers have to To Kill a Mockingbird. I read it as a preteen, and it remains one of my favorite books today. Considering its origin — and its parallels with real-life tragedies (such as the Scottsboro Boys) — it makes sense that it would seem "heavy-handed." It had to be. That's what makes it so influential.
Interestingly, To Kill a Mockingbird has actually gained popularity over the last few years (as shown by a recent Harris poll). I imagine its readership will grow even more this summer when the novel is finally available as an ebook (as HarperCollins recently announced).
Comment #2: Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 20:57:24
When I was in jr. high and high school the book was still relatively new. Neither school really went for contemporary fiction as literature choices. It is an obvious choice now for assigned reading but I think now as an adult I was just too far removed from Scout to get in her head.
It will be interesting to see what the demographic breakdown of readership is for the ebook version. I suspect among the younger readers, it will be ebooks for class and among older readers, it will be for pleasure reading.