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Harper Lee

To Kill a Mocking Bird is a book written by Harper Lee. It is through this book that the real meaning of racism and prejudice is fully defined. The story mainly focuses on the kind of life that people from Maycomb encounter. Whites term black people as inferior because of their race. They greatly undermine them, a fact that leads to a high rate of injustice in this society. Atticus, Scout’s father, has been shown as a different person who believes in justice for all. This paper is divided into two major parts; the first part focuses on my personal perception about Harper Lee’s work, memorable scenes evident in this work, and character analysis. Part two will mainly focus on literary elements and the influence of the book on societal values.

Personal Perception

Many who have read Harper Lee’s work To Kill a Mocking Bird consider it as classic. I totally agree, who wouldn’t, anyway? One should pay attention to the moral values this work tries to inflict in the reader. Discrimination is considered bad, according to Harper Lee. This is good because the termination of discrimination is the beginning of a peaceful society. One’s color or background should not be used against him or her. This is the same idea Harper Lee was trying to communicate in this book (Madden 2009).

I find the novel very hilarious, even though there are some solemn scenes in it. Harper Lee’s arrangement of work is just but amazing. Different hilarious scenes that help in relieving tension are present in the novel; before realizing it, you encounter the terrifying scenes again. Writing style used by Harper Lee is quite captivating, a fact that makes her work very popular (Shields 2007).

There are different, controversial questions evident in this work, for instance, the issue of how women should behave in the society. These questions promote mind stimulation and motivate individuals to read even more. In addition to that, many scenes are full of tension and suspense, making the reader wonder and urge to get to know what will happen next. Suspense present in this book is what makes Harper Lee's work unique and much different (in a good way) from other works I have read before.  Considering the fact that this is a political novel, I think, Harper Lee needs to be congratulated on ensuring that her work is not as flat as other political novels (Lee & Milton 2000).  

You can agree with me that most scenes are captivating but, again, most escapades presented in this novel are rather scattered and pointless. For instance, most children’s escapades are pointless, to my point of view. According to Harper Lee, this was the only way she could introduce her readers to townspeople. Robinson’s verdict is tragic because of these escapades. Lack of these escapades would make readers have different views about townspeople, contrary to what Harper Lee wanted us to know. Harper Lee wanted to inform us that not all townspeople are bigots and discriminative in nature (Petry 2007).

If to talk about the trial scenes, they were more than amazing to me, maybe, because I find courtroom dramas fascinating.  I love Atticus’s confidence that is evident from the trial scenes. He was not afraid to point out that Bob Ewell was responsible for his daughter’s abuse. The presence of uncooperative and hostile witnesses did not scare him either. It was easy to notice that the prosecutor was very evil, but Lee avoided inflicting this in the readers (Lee & McRoberts 2000).

There was so much laughing present in this novel, for instance, towards the trials’ end, and the attack of children by Ewell. I think that Lee would have avoided sacrificing the whole story by arriving at the climax faster than she did. Boo, Radley’s appearance came as a surprise even though it was a bit predictable. Raddley played two different roles in the novel; the first one was that of contrasting townspeople, and the second one was helping Scout have some confidence towards her neighbors (Bloom 2007).

Relationships between siblings can be very interesting. Am one lover of children and the relationship that exists between Scout and Jem is astounding. No one can ever imagine that brothers can hate each other so much, but this forms part of growing up of children. I enjoyed reading how Jem continuously avoided Scout, especially in public. Portraying this, Harper Lee was just and simply great. Lastly, I can commend Lee for a well done job. This novel is much different than any other I have read in the recent past. The riveting trial, humor, and endearing characters made the novel worth my time (Lee & McRoberts 2000).

Memorable Scenes

People who have read this novel will agree that To Kill a Mocking Bird has different memorable scenes that make this book worth our time. I have identified three scenes which, to my point of view, are extremely memorable. The first scene I find memorable is when Atticus tries to defend Robinson. It is fascinating how Scout and Jem decided to defend their father before a crowd tried to disrupt Atticus from protecting Robinson. It is interesting how Atticus decided to protect Robinson even though most people were not willing to. Atticus believes that his noble duty is to protect people against discrimination. He does not care about what other people might about him protecting a black man. All he wants is to ensure that justice prevails in the society. Scout and Jem’s actions show how much love children can have towards their parents, a reason that makes this scene even more memorable to me (Smucker 2000).

Robinson being accused falsely just because he is black is uncouth. This scene tries to display and explain all the challenges that African-Americans experienced in the Diaspora. Atticus’s actions indicate that all people in the whole universe are equal regardless of their skin color, gender, or physical ability. Every individual is unique in his or her own way. We should stop focusing on the physical appearance of an individual and try to appreciate everyone’s uniqueness. Another reason that makes me find this book memorable is that Atticus tries to show that people should always stand for what they deem right and avoid being influenced by the mob. Just like him, he did not care about what people thought of Robinson. This makes the whole novel memorable and worth considering as one of my favorite books (Lee & McRoberts 2000).

Another fascinating scene is when Atticus is forced to inform Mrs. Robinson that Robinson was shot. Mrs. Robinson's crying is quite moving, it makes one realize that whites who lived in Maycomb were ignorant of what is wrong and right. They did not care about other people’s feelings but were rather interested in fulfilling their selfish motives. The most important point to note from this scene is that all people under the sun have feelings, thus, they ought to be respected. For instance, being black does not mean one is not emotionally active (Conrad 2006).

When reading this book, I thought Boo Radley’s character stands out from the rest of the characters. There so many questions one would ask about him. This character was used to a secluded lifestyle. He was allowed to be seen out by his father, especially during the day. This is the reason why Boo was only seen at night spying and eating cats. It is his character that attracted Scout’s and Jem’s attention. They did not understand what kept him in doors; they, therefore, strived hard to ensure that Boo came out from his hiding. The kind of lifestyle Boo had was a sign of how did Boo’s family live. They lived in a lapidated building that was not conducive for human survival, however, they managed to survive anyway. One would say they were used to that sort of life. Myths had it that the reason why Boo’s parents had locked him up was because of the troubles he had caused in high school (Conrad 2006).

Another reason why Boo lived as a recluse was stabbing his father. When he carried out this act, Boo decided to disappear for a period of fifteen years. The love Boo's father had for his son made him not accept the judge's idea of locking Boo in an asylum. His father defended him by saying that it was pointless for the judge to lock up the poor boy because he was neither crazy nor a criminal (Lee & McRoberts 2000).

Scout, Dill, and Jem, had an interest of Boo getting out of exile without success. From the story, however, it is clear that Boo had great affection towards these children. This is because of the gifts he left behind in a tree. When Boo’s father discovered this, he decided to stop it by filling the hole that was used by Boo for stashing different gifts. The novel tries to bring out Boo as a malicious character, but again, look at how affectionate he was when he tries to cover Scout at the period when the house of Miss Mudie was in ashes (Smucker 2000).

Lee fails to talk about Boo until that time when Bob tried to kill Scout and Jem. Boo’s caring nature is also evident when he tries to save the lives of Scout and Jem from the hands of Bob. It is through this scene that we get to understand Boo’s physical appearance. He has thinning hair, colorless eyes, and is rather skinny. Boo’s character is very intriguing. There are many myths behind his secluded life. Some of the questions I kept asking myself while reading this book were: is it true that his father made him stay indoors all those years and if so, why? What is the main reason why Boo was not ready to be seen by the public? Is it true that Boo is a monster? Towards the end of the novel, Boo’s character is quite opposite to what we believe. He is a Human because he was able to save Jem’s and Scout’s lives (Smucker 2000).

Boo’s character is used to contrast what the town is made up of. Initially, we can see the town as a perfect place to be while Boo is shown as the most malicious person on Earth. This changes totally at the end, where Boo becomes a completely different man. The town is now seen as evil for hating a man just because of his black race.  From Boo’s character, I can conclude that Lee was interested in showing her readers that things do change and that we should not be hasty in jumping into conclusions about certain people or situations. It is at the end of this novel when I realize that Tom Robinson and Boo Radley have the same characteristics. Radley was accused of being a monster while Robinson is accused of being a rapist (Conrad 2006). 

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