Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird Challenge

We have head a lot about To Kill A Mockingbird this year. It is fifty years old now, which is something to be celebrated. I had it on my ‘to read’ list for this year, so when Amy at HopeistheWord.com issued a challenge to read the book in August, I knew it was the perfect time.

To Kill a Mockingbird was relatively young when I read it the first time. An assignment in high school lit class; something that had to be done, where the only goal was to get to the end. I enjoyed it then. Now that I’m a little more mature and understand life somewhat better than I did then, I feasted on this fabulous book.

TKAM was set in the thirties, but it could have easily have been decades later, since change came slowly then. Harper Lee made it so real, I can imagine the Radleys and the single ladies living in the neighborhood I grew up in. I can easily understand why the book is eternally young, even after it’s fiftieth birthday.

The book is full of words that have been quoted extensively. I won’t list them all, but here are my favorites.

Atticus to Scout: You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view..until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

Miss Maudie to Scout: Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Atticus to Jem: As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it--whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.

Scout, after her teacher told her to stop reading: Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.

My feelings, exactly.

Thank you, Harper Lee, for stringing these simple words together. It has made our world a much better place.