Timeless Story: To Kill a Mockingbird
I read the book as an adolescent, as have countless young adults have. As a youth it had a profound effect upon me. The mid—1960s was a time of racial unrest and a time of great violence. I felt as though I too lived in Maycomb with Scout, Jem, and Atticus. Now as I read the novel anew I was struck by what a masterpiece it is. I felt I could melt into the opening chapter. Her language was so smooth, so melodious, so southern! It was a pure delight throughout the book to spend time in the Deep South. Or was it? It was not a delight to read about Finch’s landing, where she describes the men bringing the cotton to the river. Never in the book does she use the word “slave.”
Her writing is beautiful and mellifluous. She draws you into the story until you feel the oppressive heat of the day and hear the sound of bare feet scratching on the sandy road past the Radley’s spooky house. In addition to her lesson on racial justice, Lee also uses the book to share an opinion or two on the nature of education. She also most definitely describes whom she thinks are true Christians: Miss Maudie and Atticus chief among them.
I’ve lived in a small town my family was the subject some townsfolk’s hate and derision. Like Scout, I could not understand how “good Christians” good be so blind and hateful. Reading of the missionary ladies in Atticus’ living room attending the Lord’s work while insulting their host was powerful and true. Lee’s choice to tell the tale through the eyes of a child was genius. It gave extra value and meaning to the children’s emotional reaction the trial results, and it made their questions sharper and more revealing. I recommend every adult reader take up this book and read it one more time.