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To Kill A Mockingbird-A Book Report
" To Kill a Mockingbird" by Nelle Harper Lee is perhaps the most popular literary work of America, and it was able to bring home the pulitzer prize for fiction. What makes this book a must read? I wasn't quite sure of the answer myself, until I have finished the last chapters of the book.
The plot of the book is rather simple. It is set in the small town of Maycomb, representing the Southern region of the United States in the 1930s. The storyline spins around a 6 year old girl named Scout, and records her growth over a span of three years. The story is told through Scout's perspective, showing how she views the town and its people, and tells the valuable lessons she learned along the way.
Scout, together with her 9 year old brother Jem, was raised by her widowed father Atticus. The family was able to cope with the help of their black housekeeper Calpurnia, as well as support from their kind neighbors. The climax of the story occurs when a black man named Tom Robinson was accused of rape by Mayella Erwell, who was the daughter of the town’s disgrace -Bob Erwell. Atticus decided to defend Tom, and although Atticus was able to prove the accusations faulty, the jury still found Tom guilty. Tom was later shot dead while attempting to escape prison. The climax is resolved when Bob Erwell, drunk and bitter over Atticus for exposing his lies, decides to attack Scout and Jem, but is instead killed by a social recluse Boo Radley.
Here is a quick summary of the story from Shmoop
In all fairness the first half of the book was extremely boring. There were almost nothing interesting happening, and the whole point of the first 100 pages is to set the stage for the climax. The whole book was an intertwine of life lessons and setting up for those life lessons, and the only reason for you to read the entire book, and not just a summary of it, is if you would like to really immerse yourself and feel the social injustices towards the black community in the 1930s.
" To Kill a Mockingbird" is often labeled as a book that depicts the many injustices that the black people faced, but to me it is more than that. This is a book that talks about the many characteristics of humanity, the good side and the bad. We have Atticus who supports equality and tries his very best to do what he deems to be right. We have Boo Radley, a kind man who reaches out to Scout and Jem in his own way, whether it being stitching up Jem’s torn pants, leaving little gifts for them in a tree knothole, and even risking his own life to save them from Bob Erwell’s assault. We also have the jury who deemed Tom Robinson guilty, even though they believe he is innocent. We have Bob Erwell, who beats his own daughter, and was willing to take two children’s life for vengeance. We have Mayella Erwell, whom I believe is the worst of the worst. She was able to accuse the kind man who had helped her through her hardships, simply to cleanse herself of the shame that she tried to seduce a black man. It is through this huge mixing pot of characters that we are able to see the complex nature of humanity, and learn many lessons from it.
Through this book Scout learns many lessons, the first one is to walk in another person’s shoes, and that you cannot understand a person and his actions, unless you had put yourself in his place. The second and perhaps the prominent lesson, is don’t kill mockingbirds. This means to not hurt anything that does no harm, and to not take advantage of something that is weak or defenseless. The third lesson is to carry on fighting, even when you know you’re going to lose. Atticus demonstrated this principle by defending Tom Robinson, even though he knows he wouldn’t win the case. The final lesson is life is not fair. We learned this when Tom was found guilty, and Scout discovers the bias the justice system has.
Although all four lessons are rather simple, Harper Lee was able to bring them to life through the eyes of Scout. I believe that it is these notable lessons, as well as her tackling the tricky issue of racial bias at her time, that make this book a great novel; and although we are no longer facing many of the injustices described in the novel, we can still keep our eyes out for the places in our lives where we can apply the principles of this book.