‘Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’
To kill a Mockingbird was first released by writer Harper Lee in 1960. It went on to win the booker prize in 1961 and cemented itself as a literary classic for decades to come.
The novel follows the story of a black man in the 1930s, convicted for the rape of a white girl. It is written from the perspective of two young children and their confusion at topics like race and the discriminatory ways of adults around them. Even after 80 years of its publication, the book is still popular and highly relates to our society. Here’s why you should read this book once in your life.
• Relevance: The book speaks about racial beliefs in a very well-rounded and practical way. The book is funny and tragic at the same time. While it will leave you in tears one moment, the other you will be laughing your head off. Without ever getting too dark and intense, the book reveals the societal trends that we have accepted as the norm. Challenging our pre-conceived notions. When racial diversity and the call for equality are louder than ever, killing a mockingbird helps you create a well-informed perspective on some of humanity’s more critical questions.
• Memorable characters: The narrative through the children creates a warm and naïve outlook towards serious problems, characters such as Boo Radley, the maid Calpurnia will leave a lasting impression. However, the character that will stick with the reader the most is the father, Atticus Finch, a lawyer with liberal and highly progressive thinking. Atticus’s conversations with his children and his matter-of-fact manner of speaking are all lessons for each parent. The way he taught his children the importance of both discipline and faith in themselves and the freedom to choose their own lives is heartwarming to read..
• Authentic portrayal of adolescence: The book contains three child characters and their coming of age. The highs and lows of teenagers and their changes get portrayed realistically. Making anyone who reads the book feel immediately related to the characters and their journey.
• High vocabulary: The book will keep you always in need of a dictionary and outside help. For teenagers who want to build their vocabulary and have a richer reading experience than what is found in books closer to this year, to kill a mockingbird is a perfect choice. The book speaks of sensitive topics with a very open and pragmatic approach. Giving a rare insight into situations that are unfortunately just as relevant today as they were almost a century ago.
Even for those who aren’t interested in social issues or books about such topics, the simplicity and ease of ‘TKAM’ will make them fall in love with it. The future belongs to a generation that demands equality of races and genders. It is essential that classics like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ that has stood the test of time be a part of every teenager’s reading today to create a better youth for tomorrow.