June's pick for the Classic Read along with the Midnight Garden was To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. You can follow along or join in the discussion at http://www.themidnightgarden.net or #tmgreadalong on Twitter.
This is my first time reading To Kill A Mockingbird. I know, I know how did this happen? I blame my high school teachers, isn't this when most people are first introduced to this book? Anyways, I'm not truly sure how I missed reading this growing up, but I'm really happy it was chosen for the Classic read-a-long this month. Like so many others, I'm now left waiting for the sequel, Go Set a Watchman.
is really easy to see why To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic. It's the kind of book
that I know I will read again, if only to take a step back in time to
this fictional town and time period. I think it's also the kind of
book that resonates with people on a very personal level. I just
adored the small town feel of the story. The kind where kids are
playing within yelling distance, everyone knows everyone else, well
and everyone's business too. The kind of place where neighbors
keep and eye on each other, and share gossip across the fence. You
can walk to school and down to the neighborhood grocery store without a care in the world. Where
as a kid, you feel safe at home with your parents and you've got
roots. Roots and families that have a history in the town. Maycomb is a very idealistic town at first, but soon neighbors
and the main characters are forced to look at each other in a new
light. And what they find brings out both the good and bad in them.
One of the things that instantly struck me was how young these characters actually
were. I mean Scout is six and Jem is ten at the beginning of the story. They just seemed so advanced for their age but also so innocent. Yet, it felt necessary having Scout's point of view and her reflections on events in later years. It allowed for a
childlike innocence to the story, given the serious themes of social
injustice, prejudice, rape and racism. Scout was the perfect
narrator, helping us to see the world she lived in and the characters
around her beliefs and prejudices. Even having to face some of her own, when her brother tells her she is “behaving more and more like a
girl” and then her Aunt wanting her to be more like a Southern lady. How confusing this must have been.
There were many religious themes in To Kill a Mockingbird, with Miss Maudie's conflict with the Baptists over her flower garden, how Atticus was choosing to bring up his children with his same values, even during the ladies tea time and bible study. But, they seemed to fit into the time period, setting and theme's that Lee was trying to portray. Nothing ever really came off as heavy handed, it just seemed to fit.
the same time, Lee seamlessly blends in a coming-of-age story where
Scout and Jem are learning about the world around them, but also
learning about who their father is and what he stands for. It's sad how they loose some of their childhood innocence as the events of Tom Robinson's trial unfolds.
was my favorite character throughout the story, well and Scout, she
is just so adorable. But, Atticus is a wonderful father with his
calm demeanor and humble honest approach.
a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don't
make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an
evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em.’
I could quote him for days. He just epitomizes what is good,
moral and just, and represents an honorable man with a high standard
of integrity. He is such a great role model to his two children and
the wisdom he passes on about “never really understanding a person
until you consider things from his point of view or until climbing
into his skin and walking around.” are just wonderful life
lessons. Atticus doesn't ever have it easy either. He wants to do
what he feels is morally correct and his duty, by defending Tom
Robinson. It's interesting that there are other people in town who agree with him, but it's like they make him their spokesperson. Atticus does what he feels he should do, otherwise he “couldn't hold
his head up in town.” His moral compass is very strong and Lee has
developed this wonderful character for others to look up to.
one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's
There were a few things about Atticus parenting style that I never fully understood though. Why did he allow the children to call him by his first name, rather than father? Was it their way of showing him respect? I keep wondering about this throughout my reading. And why did Atticus allow his brother (Uncle Jack) to give Scout a licking after she used some foul language? But, most of all I loved the compassion that he showed to Mrs. Dubose, even though they had very differing views.
Overall, To Kill a Mockingbird was a wonderful story and I really can't say much more than that.
Favorite line: "It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and if you've ever had a Scuppernong please let me know how they taste. I'm kinda curious now.