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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Review by Angela, Teen Blogger

(Editor's Note: this review may contain spoilers.)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

You might have read this in grade 10 English. Great, another piece of great American literature, you might think. But it is in fact really meaningful and well written. To Kill a Mockingbird is the only published book that was written by Harper Lee. The elements of the story such as the setting, characters and the plotline are inspired by Lee’s childhood experiences in a small town in Alabama. Like the main character Scout in the book, Lee lived with her older brother and lawyer father. Lee and her childhood friend Truman Capote witnessed countless trials in the courtroom and some left a deep impression on her. This explains the main conflict of the novel, in which Atticus, Scout’s father, defended Tom Robinson who was charged of rape and was imprisoned despite the strong evidence of his innocence.

One of the main themes of this novel is racial injustice. Nearly a century ago, racial equality was far from being achieved. As stated in the book, the community grouped its residents by their skin colour. For instance, they had separate churches and going to one that wasn’t your own would be unsuitable and unacceptable. Besides from that, the white folks believed that they were superior to others. Even though slavery was long abolished, the black folks were discriminated against and were ripped of certain rights.

And when Tom Robinson was convicted, he was doomed. The judges and the jury were all white; they didn’t trust anything a black man had to say. Furthermore, Atticus was reproached by the community for defending Tom. From this, we can see how our society has changed over the years and how foolish people had been once. The way the townspeople were treating minorities was awful and unethical by modern standards. Lee explored this issue when writing this novel towards the end of the 1950’s, which supported the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

Lee also touched on other themes such as gender roles and equality and the corruption of the justice system. It was evident that the town was conservative and believed that there were certain roles and expectations for specific genders, age groups, and social classes. By depicting the situation through conversations with various individuals in the novel, Lee ridiculed particular aspects of the society that corresponded to these themes.

I believe that To Kill a Mockingbird is a priceless piece of art that explores several sensitive topics that were extremely controversial during the 1960’s in which the novel was first published. It was a little hard to get into the story at first, when all the children talked about was their neighbour “Boo” Radley. But then everything started to piece together and became extremely addicting. It was also marvelous to note the main characters’ transitions from the start to the end of the book. Overall, I give this book 9 stars out of 10. This novel is amazing and raises awareness to equality issues through the art of impressive story-telling.



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