To Kill A Mockingbird | Hamro Patro

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A Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

   Suprabh Acharya - May 17 2024

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a wonderful novel written by Harper Lee. The book was first published by Lippincott & Co. in 1960 AD. The book talks about the themes of racial injustice, moral growth, and empathy in the American South during the 1930s. The story of the book is set in the town of Maycomb during the first half of the 1900s. The book is about the Finch family, from the perspective of Scout Finch, a young girl and her brother Jem. Jem and Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer with fame and reputation who later defends Tom Robinson, who is a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. The trial of Tom Robinson can be seen as the focal point of the story as it exposes the racism and prejudice ingrained within the Maycomb Society.

Plot Summary:
In the story, as Scout and Jem go through their small town, they encounter many characters, like Boo Radley who is mysterious and ‘scary’, who later on, becomes the subject of curiosity and also their empathy. The interactions between Boo Radley and other characters help Scout and Jem know about complex issues like morality, empathy and character understanding.

The story gets a twist in the trial of Tom Robinson, where Atticus’s defence exposes the truth of the case. Atticus tries his best to save Tom Robinson by proving how the bruise on Mayella’s face isn’t from the beating of Tom as his left arm doesn't work from a previous injury. Despite the truth and strong evidence provided by Atticus, the defence still fails to overcome the deeply rooted racism of the jury and the biassed justice system of Maycomb society. Even though the judicial system of Maycomb was flawed, Scout and Jem’s perspective of the world overall evolves and they recognize the importance of equality, importance of kindness, importance of mercy and they learn to stand up for what is right.
Meanwhile, Scout and Jem’s curiosity about Boo Radley leads to surprising discoveries and disclosures. Through many events of encounters and acts of kindness, like Boo Radley fixes Jem’s pant when it got stuck on his fence, killing Bob Ewell to save Scout and Jem and many more, Scout and Jem come to see Boo Radley not as an intimidating, scary person and a menace but as a misunderstood and vulnerable individual.

The novel also explores and shows the relationship between the Finch family and other members of the society, like the serious but caring neighbour, Maudie Atkinson, and the odd Mrs Dubose. Even though Mrs. Dubose is a side character, she still plays a great role in the story to serve a lesson in courage and flexibility to the readers throughout the story.As a side effect of the Tom Robinson case, Scout and Jem find themselves being targeted by Bob Ewell, who is Mayella’s abusive father. In the story we can see that Bob Ewell is seeking revenge for Atticus’s defence of Tom Robinson because Tom was a black man. In a terrifying confrontation between Scout, Jem and Bob Ewell, Bob Ewell tries to attack both of them in which Jem gets hurt but they are saved by Boo Radley, who shows bravery and courage to protect them without thinking about what others might think and without caring about himself. Which proves Boo Radley isn’t a scary character but is a real true hero of the story.In the trail of all these events, Scout and Jem along with we readers get a deeper understanding of the reality of human nature and the importance of equality in life. The novel ends with Atticus saying words of wisdom and comfort to his children which encourages them to continue fighting for justice and equality in a society marked by prejudice and injustice based on race.

Critical Analysis:
In Spite of all the valuable information given in the story, the plot structure is complex as the book has many characters which makes the reader unable to understand who is who. But, Harper Lee has skillfully drawn the characters like Boo Radley and Tom Robinson as these characters offer a subtle portrayal of Southern American society during the 1900s.The magnificent writing style of Harper Lee can be seen through the story, dialogues and the insight into the society of Maycomb and racial injustice. Through Scout’s perspective and narration readers can easily feel connected to the story and can understand about justice and encouragement. The novel explores themes like prejudice, discrimination, in-toxication and sexism along with racial injustice which can still be seen in many societies up-to this date. Prejudice can be seen during the trial of Tom Robinson as he is shown guilty just because he is black. This incident also reflects discrimination and racial injustice which is deeply rooted in the society of Maycomb. Throughout the story we readers can gain a deeper understanding and insight of the social situation and context in which the story of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ unfolds.

Conclusion and Recommendation:
I would recommend the book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ to readers of all ages. The powerful themes, skillfully drawn characters and interesting style of writing makes the book a must read for anyone who is interested in social justice, and humanity. People may find the book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ a resource for discussions about tolerance and the importance of truth and equality. Even though the book contains a lot of information, some might find the story and language used in the story triggering as it is related to racism and violence. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a captivating and inspiring novel written by Harper Lee. The book can be seen as an inspirational book as it teaches us about the importance of justice and courage to fight for our rights.

Suprabh Acharya
Grade: X ‘Machhapuchhre’
Deerwalk Sifal School

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