To Kill a Mocking Bird

2:33 PM

“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."
-- Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

It has been a long time since I read a book that was engaging, endearing and inspiring, all at the same time . Honestly, I have picked up this book for reading only because of the fact that, this has been highly recommended by many of the users on Quora as one of the best books they have ever read. I would be lying, if say I didn't have my share of apprehensions about the book and how just a book could transform the way you look at things. As I finished the book, I was left with a bag of mixed feelings. A bit shaken up on my perception about the prejudices that exists in the society and also filled me with hope that even in the darkest of times, with sheer conviction there is every possibility of turning things around.

To Kill a mocking bird is set out in Marycomb county, Alabama,during the times of World War I. It entails the lives of two kids Scout and Jem and the happenings in their neighbourhood over the course of three summers. What's impressive is the fact that the narrator of the story, Scout Atticus Finch, is a six year old girl. It might not be rare sight for the narrator be a child, but what makes this one interesting and intriguing is the fact that, Harper Lee tries to shed light up on the adulthood as seen from the prism of a child's eye. It brings a whole new dimension to the story.

The book is slow to start off, taking its own sweet time in establishing the characters and their neighbourhood the story is set in. A few pages in to the book and a realization seeps in that this one is going to be more focused on the journey that is least bothered about when it is going to arrive at its destination . The narration seems unhurried by all means. You are presented with a detailed description of day to day happenings and you see the characters exactly how Scout sees them. Scout's relationships with all the characters are all very well described and shaped with great skill, you instantly echo similar thoughts on each one of it them. Be it with her adorable father, Atticus, her darling brother Jem, who she always accompanies in every act he undertakes, her maid Calpurnia, who constantly puts stop to the tantrums she throws around, her love-hate relationship with her bossy Aunt Mary, her dreamy love interest Dill, Radely's, the ever scary neighbours or the amiable Miss Maudie, who baked them cakes every time they visited her . Harper Lee's account of childhood is so refreshing and real that it left me wondering if the writer was ever out of her childhood. Either that or she must have had an astounding memory her childhood. I was swept off with wafts of nostalgia. She weaves a web of magic with her words that is hard  to resist the charm it induces.

It is hard to believe that this book was written in 1960s. Even today, the racial discrimination and prejudices the book discusses are prevalent in almost every society in one form or other. However, at no point the book gets preachy. The writer cleverly deals with this problem by putting the characters in certain morally ambiguous and conflicting situations and make a decision. Figure this for an instance.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” ~Attticus Finch, To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

It helps us identify ourselves in such situations in our lives and relate to them better. It is hard to discuss them without revealing the plot, something I would hate to do.So pick up the book and see what I am talking about. If not anything, reading the book makes you experience the feeling of a stroll on an autumn evening,in the park which is littered with dry leaves which get crumpled under your feet making crisp sounds and you head home craving for a hot brewing coffee. Or wait until its Spring. Your call!!

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