Asian Writers

June is dedicated to authors with ASIAN of books in this category will be posted all month....

Sunday, October 7, 2012

To Kill a Mocking Bird

It is a deceptively simple book.

Although told from the point of view of a child, the book is not a children's book. Far from it. It has a very grave adult theme running throughout. The great divide between the white's and the black's that existed in America's dark past.

Before I  go on to the book, I have to put across the question if the prejudices have actually died out or has it merely shifted to a different race of people?

I have heard first hand accounts from friends who have been differentially treated because they were not Americans or white. One reads in papers about Indians being killed in Australia. Because they were Indians and brown. There are incidents when the IT crowd has traveled to a foreign land and have not been treated equally. There are professionals who don't get the top job because of their ethnicity. But this could be due to other reasons, not necessarily because of a feeling of superiority. In these times, I believe it is borne out of insecurity.

It has never happened to me, on the contrary, I have met the most courteous Americans/Canadians and had a fabulous time when I was there.

Coming back to the book.

The book covers a year [1930] in the life of a brother (Jem, crossing over to adolescence) and sister (Scout, the narrator) and the events that transpire in their life because their father, Atticus, decides to fight for a falsely convicted handicapped Negro, charged with the crime of raping a white girl.
Apart from this there are other small narrations that depict the life of an American neighborhood.

Atticus is the hero of this book, a fact I didn't comprehend the first time I read it [I was not mature enough to understand the nuances of this book]. He is a silent hero, the symbol of what is right and good, and fights a lone battle, trying to set an example for his children. He is a hero who loses the battle but not his virtues, even in the end when he thinks his son is guilty of killing a scum of a white man who falsely implicated the negro to save his pride.

But to kill a mocking bird is the gravest of sins in the world, and implicating Jem, his son, would be a similar sin. A fact elucidated by Scout in her naivety to her father.

I love the book. It is written simply and covers a complex topic that if you don't pay close attention to, the meaning would be lost. I like the character of Atticus, he is a definite role model with his strengths and weakness and I love the portrayal of a quaint and close neighborhood, which keeps its doors unlocked even in the night. It reminds me of my childhood. Sadly, the city doesn't offer the same freedom or friendliness.

I have read it twice and I know I can read it again and again and not be bored of it. Its a great book that is published once in a century. 

1 comment:

  1. I love the book as well. :)

    Btw, "negro" is a derogatory term.