To Kill a Mockingbirdby Harper Lee Published 23 May 2006
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The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
"To Kill a Mockingbird" Reviews
Why is it when I pick up To Kill A Mockingbird , I am instantly visited by a sensory memory: I’m walking home, leaves litter the ground, crunching under my feet. I smell the smoke of fireplaces and think about hot cider and the wind catches and my breath is taken from me and I bundle my coat tighter against me and lift my head to the sky, no clouds, just a stunning blue that hurts my eyes, another deep breath and I have this feeling that all is okay.
Why? Why this memory? I mean, this takes place in Alabama and mostly in the summer, well there is that one climatic scene on Halloween, but I bet it’s still hot enough to melt the balls off a brass monkey.
It must be the school thing, my daughter just finished reading it, prompting me to give it another go, to fall back into Scout’s world and pretend to be eight and let life simply be.
How is that? How can life for Scout be simple? I mean, she lives in the south, during the depression, she has to deal with ignorant schoolteachers and town folk, her ideas of what is right, what is what it should be are laughed at by her schoolmates… man, and I thought my childhood was rough.
Still, she lives in this idyllic town, I mean, except for the racism and the creepy neighbors and the whole fact that it’s, you know, the south…(forgive me… I’m not immune to the downfalls of the north, I mean, we had witches and well, Ted Bundy was born here…) But, there’s this sense of childlike innocence to this book that makes me believe in humanity… even in the throes of evil. What am I saying here? I guess, that this is a good pick me up.
What I also get from this book is that I have severe Daddy issues. I consume Atticus Finch in unnatural ways. He is the ultimate father; he has the perfect response for every situation. He is the transcendent character. My heart melts at each sentence devoted to him and I just about crumble during the courtroom scene.
Am I gushing? I sure am. I was raised by a man who thought that Budweiser can artwork was the epitome of culture. That drinking a 6-pack was the breakfast of champions. That college was for sissies. He could throw out a racial slur without a single thought, care or worry to who was around. I won't even get into the debates/rantings of a 16 yr old me vs a 42 yr old him... What a role model.
So, I thank Harper Lee for giving me Atticus. I can cuddle up with my cider and pretend that I’m basking in his light. I can write this blurb that makes sense to maybe a handful but that is okay, I am approved of and all is good.
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on Lee's observations of her family, her neighbors and an event that occurred near her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The story is told by the six-year-old Jean Louise Finch.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هشتم از ماه آوریل سال 1994 میلادی
عنوان: کشتن مرغ مینا؛ نویسنده: هارپر لی؛ مترجم: فخرالدین میررمضانی، تهران، توس، 1370، در 378 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، امیرکبیر، 1390، در 414 ص؛ شابک: 9789640013816؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، علمی فرهنگی، 1393، در 378 ص؛ شابک: 978600121573؛
مترجم دیگر: بابک تیموریان، تهران، ناس، 1390، در 504 ص، شابک: 9789649917733؛
مترجم دیگر: روشنک ضرابی، تهران، انتشارات میلکان، 1394، در 360 ص، شابک: 9786007845196؛
باور کردنی نیست، تا 28 دسامبر 2015 یا همان 8 دیماه 1395 هجری خورشیدی، تنها در گودریدز 3,128,155 نفر همین کتاب را ستاره باران کرده اند؛ نمیدانم چرا در برگردان عنوان کتاب، به جای بلبل، مرغ مینا را برگزیده اند، شاید مرغ مقلد هم بهتر باشد، چون همین پرنده نیز صدای پرندگان دیگر را تقلید میکند. چکیده: اسکات و جیم، خواهر برادر کوچکی هستند، که مادرشان سالها پیش از در بگذشته است، آن دو با پدرشان: «اتیکاش» در شهر کوچکی زندگی میکنند. پدر وکیل شهر هستند و برای انسانیت و باورهای مردمان احترام میگذارند. ایشان سعی دارد تا فرزندانش را انسان بار آورد. داستان از زبان کودک و به زیبایی روایت میشود، قرار است یک سیاهپوست به نام: تام، به جرم تجاوز به دختری سفیدپوست محاکمه شود، در حالیکه معلوم است تام آن کار را نکرده است، و آتیکوس میخواهد از او دفاع کند، مردمان شهر بر علیه آتیکوس هستند، و او به عنوان یک پدر، میخواهد فرزندانش در شرایط دشوار درست رفتار کنند . کتاب «کشتن مرغ مقلد» نوشته ی روانشاد بانو «هارپر لی»، که با عنوان: «کشتن مرغ مینا» منتشر شده، نخستین بار در سال 1960 میلادی به نشر سپرده شد، یکسال بعد، جایزه ی پولیتزر را برد. در سال 1962 میلادی نیز، «رابرت مولیگان» فیلمی با اقتباس از متن همین کتاب ساختند، و در همان سال ایشان هم توانستند، سه جایزه اسکار را از آن خود کنند. که فیلم جایزه ی بهترین بازیگر مرد را برای: گریگوری پک٬ بهترین کارگردان هنری، و بهترین فیلمنامه اقتباس شده را از آن خود کرد. بد نیست بیفزام، خانم «هارپر لی» تا یک دو سال مانده به پایان عمر خویش، تنها همین رمان را نوشته بودند، براساس گویه ای از ایشان، بنوشته اند: «در عصری که همه ی مردمان لپ تاپ، موبایل و آی پاد دارند، اما ذهن هاشان همچون یک اتاق، خالیه؛ ترجیح میدهم وقتم را با کتابهایم سپری کنم.» پایان نقل. ایشان در سال 2007 میلادی نیز نشان آزادی را از دست رئیس جمهور آمریکا دریافت کردند. نقل از متن کتاب: «حواستون باشه کشتن مرغ مقلد گناهه. این را برای نخستین بار از اتیکاس شنیدم، که انجام کاری گناه داره، واسه همین هم به خانوم مودی گفتم. اون هم جواب داد: پدرت درست گفته، مرغ مقلد، هیچ کار نمیکنه، تنها برایمان میخونه، تا لذت ببریم. با تمام وجودش هم برامون میخونه. واسه همین هم کشتنش گناه داره.» پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی
In the course of 5 years, I’ve read this book nearly 17 times. That adds up to reading it once at least every 4 months, on an average. And I still return to this book like a bark seeking a lighthouse in the dark. When I first finished it, I was so overwhelmed by how much I related to it, I read it nearly 8 times before the year ended. By now I’ve memorized almost every scene and I still can’t shake off the feeling that I still have to learn a lot from it. Over the years, I realize that without knowing it, it has become my personal Bible – a beacon to keep me from straying from the path of kindness and compassion, no matter what.
With its baseless cruelty and what Coleridge poetically referred to as motiveless malignity, the world is in need of much motiveless kindness – a rugged determination to keep the world a quiet haven and not the callous, cruel place it constantly aspires to be.
To Kill A Mockingbird is one of those rare books that doesn’t give in to the belief that ”deep down, everybody’s actually good.” Not everybody is. And we must still persevere to see things from their perspective, and though we may not justify their ways, we must strive to understand them – though we might not follow them, we must try to be as kind to them as possible. And yet, there comes a time when some people need to be put down – we must follow the call of our conscience then, and yet be kind to them in the process, as much as we can.
Striving to follow this dictum, I have realized how difficult it is to be kind to others when I find I’m right. It is so easy to put down others bluntly, it is so easy to be critical and fair, but so difficult to consider for a moment what the other might be going through. How convenient it is to dismiss the hardships of others and say, “They had it coming!” and unburden our conscience of the probable guilt that perhaps we’ve been a bit too harsh.
How simple it is to stereotype people, classify them neatly into convenient square boxes and systematically deal with them based on those black-or-white prejudices! Robe a prejudice in the opaque, oppressive garment called Common Sense and display boldly the seal of Social Approval and you’ve solved the biggest difficulty of life – knowing how to treat people.
And yet, nothing could be farther than the truth. Rarely are people so simple as they seem. In Wilde’s words, “The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” For you never know when a grumpy, rude, racist Mrs. Dubose might be fighting her own monsters or Ewell be, in fact trying to protect the last vestiges of honor he has, or Aunt Alexandra only trying to advocate the least painful way of life. And though we might not agree with any of them, like Atticus, we must see them for their peculiar situations and grant them a little leeway, make a little corner for them too, and yet, stand up for what is right in defiance of them.
It is this tricky rope-walking balance between prejudice and common sense, kindness and firmness, and justice and leeway that spurs me to revisit this little book every time I seem to falter. While I find it difficult to keep my cool in the midst of flagrant injustices and ensuing pain, I strive to strike a balance between giving in to despair and becoming too optimistic; between becoming indifferent, unkind, righteous and being compassionate, considerate. It is what keeps me from becoming paranoid or cynical with the unceasing drone of passivity, callousness, overwhelming prejudice and unyielding customs while still being alive to the pain of those very people I do not necessarily agree with.
In a country like India with its bizarre, incomprehensible equations and sequestrations of religion, class, caste, region, language, race, gender, sexuality and education, it takes a whole load of effort not to blow up one’s mind – people will kill each other over anything and everything. They’ll hate each other, isolate each other and cook up stories amongst themselves and leave it floating in the air. It takes every ounce of my energy not to hate my land and its majority people viciously. Yes, viciously.
But you see, I’ve got so much to learn to survive here – I have to stand up for myself when there will be hordes banging upon my door telling me to shut the hell up. And I’ll have to muster all the courage I have to tell them to go f*** themselves if they think I musn’t transcend the limits set for me. But I also have to learn not to hate them. Even if it sounds silly.
I know for one, Lee – I don’t care if you never wrote another work. I don’t care if Capote helped you write it, as many say. I’m glad somebody wrote this book, and somebody assigned this book as syllabus when I needed it the most. Five years ago, I hadn’t even heard of it. I read it in a single sitting. And then I read it several times over, taking my time, pondering over every page. I still do so. It is my favorite book ever.
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”(p. 20)
I love this book and this idea of reading being like breathing. As Scout did, I read early too, and often. Every night before bed I would read and still do. I saw a Twilight Zone Episode once where the main character loved to read and only wanted to be left alone to do so. After falling asleep in the vault of the bank where he worked, he awoke to a post-disaster world where only he was left. He busily gathered together all the books he wanted to read, all organized and stacked up. Just as he chose one to start with, his glasses fell and he stepped on them trying to find them. It was terrible and I remember feeling horrified that this man would never get to read again! Such a thought had never occurred to me. This semester I had to get glasses myself after suffering migraines from reading. I was so nervous at the eye doctor because the thought of not being able to read was too much for me. Of course, I only needed readers, but when I ran across this quote, I thought about how much like breathing reading is for me.
“Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.” (p. 87)
Never say die! Fight the good fight no matter what! I love the anti-defeatist message in this quote. Even though Atticus knows the deck is stacked against him, he tries anyway. He understands that sometimes you have to fight the un-winnable fight just for the chance that you might win. It makes me think that what he’s trying to teach his children is never to give up just because things look dim.
“...before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.” (p. 120)
As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” That’s really all that matters. At the end of the day, when you lay down, you have to know that you did the right things, acted the right way and stayed true to yourself. Again, Atticus understands that the town is talking; he has to explain to his kids why he continues against the tide of popular thought. He sums it up so well here.
“We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.”(p. 320)
I love the sad way this quote sounds. It is clearly the thoughts of a child, for hadn’t Scout just given Boo his dignity as they were walking home? Hadn’t she and Jem given him children to care for and watch over? But she knows too, even from her child’s perspective, that they could never give him anything close to what he had given them—their lives. It just sounds so beautifully sad.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. Print.
I looked up Harper Lee online this is her only published book. However, she did write a few articles that one can find and read online:
Love in other Words - Vogue
Christmas to me - McCalls
When Children Discover America
Romance and High Adventure
Her full name is Nellie Harper Lee - I bet she dropped the Nellie part so publishers would mistakenly think she was a man and read her material. She is also still alive and living in Monroeville, Alabama. And once you read about her and her family, you will know that she is not the only amazing person in that family (guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree).
I was able to tell in the beginning that the book started in the 30's once Dill mentioned that he saw Dracula in the theaters. Dracula was in theaters in 1931-32 (don't ask how I know that), and they mentioned that they were in the Depression which started in 1929 (1927-28 for the farmers) and went on through out the 30's. Since they were openly drinking, Prohibition must have ended (1933). And, towards the end of the book, they were mentioning Hitler and what he was doing in Germany which took place in the late 30's. My history teachers would be so impressed that I retained all of that information. Too bad my head is so full of that information, I have to look up my own phone number.
I loved Scout. In fact, I get dibs on that name for a little girl- or did Bruce Willis and Demi Moore beat me to it? I loved that she wanted to be a person first and then a girl. And she supports the fact that little kids know the meaning of life and forget it as they get older. She had a great relationship with her brother and father and they encouraged her to be true to herself and not follow the stereotypes of ladies of that time. I loved her way of thinking especially how she drew the conclusion that if she starting swearing her dad would assume she picked up the bad habits from school and pull her out. And when she wanted to write a letter to Dill in invisible ink just to drive him crazy, I almost ruined the book because I was drinking a Diet Pepsi at the time.
I have a feeling that Harper Lee was just like Scout and have you noticed that all early 1900 female authors are tomboys? Louisa Mae Alcott was Jo in Little Women, Laura Wilder wrote about herself. It just goes to show you that the truly creative women were those that went against the stereotypes of the time.
I'm not sure I like the fact that Atticus allowed them to call him by his first name and not Dad, but aside from that he was the perfect role model. He talked to them, not at them, and he always listened. He firmly believed that it was important for his children to respect him and by NOT following the creed "Do as I say, not as I do", Scout and Jem would be able to look up to him. He wanted his children to look beyond the color of one's skin, therefore he did. He treated everyone as equal despite their race, family background, age or education and if more people did that, there wouldn't be as many problems today. His teaching methods worked. You can tell how much the children loved and looked up to him. Nothing hurt them more then having their father be ashamed of them. They didn't keep things from him because they thought he wouldn't understand. They kept things from him because they didn't want him to get hurt. And they always listened, because to disobey would hurt Atticus.
Atticus's brother was another one of my favorite characters even though he wasn't mentioned a lot. When he realized his error after punishing Scout for beating up her cousin and tried to make it right, it showed that he also strived to earn their respect just like Atticus. Nothing irates me more then when someone tells me I have to respect them because they are older than me. Whatever. Does that mean I have to respect Bob Ewall because he is older?
It's easy to see with all of the problems in the world why Boo Radley feels safer hiding from away from it. It takes a special person to admit defeat to the cliché "if you can't beat them join them" and turn his back on things he doesn't understand. I think everyone has a little bit of Boo in us, when we shut out the problems of the outside. Of course, we all have a little of Scout in us to especially when I come out fighting if anyone tries to hurt my family.
The court case. Wow, the sad thing is, is I can see that happening even today (i.e. the Rodney King trial). When I moved here the first time, just before the LA riots, there was a huge ordeal about a Korean, store-owner who shot and killed a 17-19 black, teenager girl, she claimed was stealing and attacking her. The security camera shows the tiff and it shows the teen putting down the item and walking towards the exit. The store owner shot her in the back and was found not-guilty, by reason of self-defense. When the book was published in 1960, discrimination was still a big problem. I did like how Harper Lee brought up Hitler's actions against the Jews. It was obvious that what was going on in America with African Americans was no different in her eyes than what Hitler was doing. I agree, we were just more discreet about it. Perhaps because deep inside, Americans knew it was wrong to treat African Americans as third class citizens so we tried to hide it more. Hitler was right out in the open with his actions.
I listed a few links that I discovered about To Kill A Mocking Bird:
http://www.lausd.k12.ca.us/Belmont_HS... The Student Survivor Guide. - This is amazing it has definitions of the harder words and references to the "Allusions and Idioms" that are used.
http://mockingbird.chebucto.org/ - This talks more about the author and her family.