Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird By Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those classics which appears and reappears in every book list we can come across. The profound impact it has on its readers makes it one of the most frequently suggested books of all time. Written by Harper Lee and published in 1960, it is an American Pulitzer prize winner. To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of a child named Scout, who along with her brother Jem and friend Dill watches her father, a lawyer, defend a black man charged with the rape of a white girl in one of the most controversial court cases in their small town. As the three children struggle to understand the various hypocrisies of adults, they learn some valuable wisdom along the way, growing up a little with each lesson.

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."

The story follows the lives of Scout, Jem, and Dill, whose combined idiosyncrasies pave the way for innocent, hilarious turns of events. However, when Jem and Scout's father Atticus decided to defend the black man in the infamous rape case, the children felt their lives change. They watched, as Atticus works through the case, fight as people try to bring him down, cry as the inevitable happens in the court, and through it all, grow up using his profound wisdom. In a world where adults give out lessons to their children, this book is a refreshing narrative that makes a person think that at times we need to recheck our own wisdom, too.

While it may seem like the book is all about a man's fight against racism brought upon his family's fight against society, but it is also a real narrative about the struggles of growing up. For this, Jem and Scout are lucky to have a father like Atticus. Filled with deep wisdom and honourable intentions, he leads his children by his own example. His intelligence is inherited by both Jem and Scout, who grow up with the ability to distinguish right from wrong. At each turn of the book, they were mere children who spoke as if they had years and years of wisdom engraved upon their tongues.

The book subtly encourages significant development within all its characters. It is written in a lucid style as the mind of a pre-teenager. At the same time, it echoes a great depth of thought. On the downside, many readers may find the first half of the book to be slow-paced or aimless. To read this book, a person needs to have due patience, but we assure that once everything starts making sense in the second half, it makes the book completely worth its acclaim.

To Kill a Mockingbird is essential for a lot of reasons. The prime of them is even after 60 years of being published, some of its maladies have still not been redressed. There are still many people suffering at the hands of those in power for no reason. Ironically, this makes the book a timeless classic, because people can relate to its tragedy even after such a long time of its publication. It is the misfortune of the world that such a book was needed to be written, but now that it has, any reader would be fortunate to read it. It is strongly recommended for every person out there.

By Soumya Mukhija

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