You Don't Kill a Mockingbird: Life Lesson for a Beginner

By Christina Kim - February 25, 2016

The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think. No book in the world equals the Bible for that. 


I have read countless books ever since the day I learnt how to read, though it is still a humble number as compared to the endless books out there which I have yet to read.

Books just have that magical effect and they could transport me into that whole different world; as though I was living in another dimension.
There are books that made me cry, and there are those which sent me into a laughing spell, and then there are those which just somehow stirred that heartstring and invoked thoughts and emotions which lasted until this very day.

These are the books I would recommend to anyone who wants to read and to experience that life-changing effect; bringing a whole new perspective into their very own lives.

One of such book is as mentioned; and by far, one of my personal favorite book which I have read over and over again and each time, it just stirred a different kind of awakening.

To Kill A Mockingbird, is one of the most accomplished literary works ever published to date, and evidently so, with the book's huge success that it had gone on to earn a Pulitzer's Award within a year of its publication.

It is also the only book published by author Harper Lee (though there was Go Set a Watchman, which was revealed to be the draft of To Kill a Mockingbird)

Published in the year 1960, the book was awarded the Pulitzer in 1961 and made its way to become a literary classic in the modern American literature.
It is one of the required reading material for literature and the storyline was set to embed the foundation far beyond the classroom windows for it is a story set to awaken the society of the issues plaguing them right under their very noses.

Driving inspiration from her observation of her very own neighborhood, To Kill a Mockingbird was set in a background too close to reality and highlighted issues which were happening in the society; affecting the very core values of humanity to even the foundation of individuality itself.

It was a story which shook the nation, awakened the world and rocked the boats of diversity around the globe.

Amidst the controversy it presented, justice and courage in facing the reality crept into the hearts of everyone to ask themselves the question which is just staring right at their very own faces.

There is no doubt the impact the book had; which led to its huge success and the reason it stayed on the shelves for generations to come.

It was a brave piece penned at that time; yet the results were unexpected for the book did not only threw the controversy into highlight yet brought with it an echoing wake-up call.

It was truly a masterpiece.

There are a few lessons we could draw from the book, and even from the author herself, whom I admired for her forwardness and revealing style of writing.
It had personally taught me more than just a few important life lessons, which I would love to share.

Plot summary:
The story is set during the Great Depression era; in a fictional town of Maycomb situated in Alabama. The main protagonists of the story revolve around two children; Jean-Louise Finch (Scout), 6, her brother, Jem and Atticus, their father who was a lawyer.
The children befriended a boy; Dill, who came to visit his aunt in town, every summer. 
A character in the neighborhood terrified them; Arthur Boo Radley, known to the community as simply "Boo", who happened to be Scout and Jem's neighbor.
Boo seemed to be a pretty mysterious character as depicted, as few have seen him and no one seems to talk about him in the neighborhood.
The children even find little gifts left for them outside his place, but they never see the person who left them there.

The highlight of the story came when the children's father, Atticus, was appointed to defend the accused in a rape case involving a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. 
The problem was that the accused was a black man; and the whole town was against the idea of Atticus defending the man; Tom Robinson, whom they were certain committed the deed.
Despite the threats, Atticus agreed to defend Tom and even did his best to clear him of his accusations, believing in his innocence; incurring the wrath of the entire town as a result.
Scout and Jem were taunted by the other children for their father's work; yet Scout, the brave little girl stood up to them, despite her father's advice.

Atticus successfully presented the loopholes in the accusations against Tom; though to no avail as despite the lack of evidence, Tom was still convicted.
Tom tried to escape from prison but ended up being killed during his escape.

Tom's conviction shook Atticus's and his children's faith in justice on a whole and they had to later face the wrath of Bob Ewell; the victim's father who vowed revenge upon Atticus for the humiliation in court.

*I will not reveal the entire story to avoid spoilers, but in summary, the story presented a few different point of views in general and even raised the questions of morality and ethics along the way.

Issues which were highlighted in the story:
1. Racism
It was obvious that Atticus had to face criticisms and backlashes from his very own neighborhood for defending someone not of their own race and color.
It is a matter of great controversy at that time, and even until today, for racism continues to plague the society across nations.
Discriminations are splattered over choices of one's race, religion and skin color, and even affecting social lifestyle, work, communities everywhere.

2. Rights of Equality 
Everyone is equal in the eyes of justice and there should be no one stripped of that right.
Everyone has a chance to speak and to fend for themselves and that is the very reason for Atticus's take on Tom's case despite the town's disapproval, for Atticus only believed in the eyes of equality.
Does being of a less socially accepted population deprives one of their right in the society?

3. Morality 
Doing something right does not require approval; even when the majority says it is not.
Atticus believed in doing the right thing, and so does his children, despite being tormented by the entire town for defending a black man. They believed that it was morally right to do so; despite the population against them.
Just because everyone says it's wrong, it may not necessarily be wrong.

There are many more which could be drawn between the lines but these are the main issues which I would like to highlight before highlighting the life lessons derived from the whole story presented in the book.

It is in fact, a simple yet truthful depiction of the society in reality, even to this very day.

Each of the character could be observed and understood from their angles; to derive the reasoning behind their behaviors and actions.
It is just looking through the periscope to see the other end of the person's view.

The story though simple, presented the many complex facts which seemed straightforward to the naked eye yet strived to make its presence in the society for generations.

It is these little things which are constantly returning to haunt the society in vicious cycles as it continues to glare at us in the eye while many chose to turn away from.

These are lessons which we all know, yet in fact, how many really do keep it in practice until this very day?

If that is the case, we would have a world free of prejudice and discrimination and there would be no wars today.
Sadly, these are still issues which we all need to work on.

To Kill a Mockingbird sends that message well across, and tells through the simple views of each of its character.
There is that you and me in each and every of the character presented in the story, if we only realized it.

There are many questions, along with the lessons which To Kill a Mockingbird has raised and educated me at the same time.
It created an awareness and awakened the spirit within.

1. Righteousness, Courage and Faith
Do we stand up for the Right when we Believe in it?
There are many times we let the world decide what is wrong and what is right; by following the majority of the population.
But deep down inside, we know it is not the right thing to do, why do we abide?
Is it for social acceptance?
What happened to that streak of righteousness?
What about that belief we were brought up in?
Have we been too afraid?

Right is right even if no one is doing it.
Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it
-St Augustine of Hippo-

2. Personal Judgment vs Societal Judgment
Do we often let others tell us what to do, even when we have decided in it?
How are judgments formed?
Are we judging people based on impressional factors?
When have we become a judgmental society?
Who sets the ranks in the society anyway?

3. There are many ways to look at a picture
Everyone has their own story; never judge someone by their looks or external appearance.
No one gets to where they are without going through their own journey, and even if we know the story, we don't know the truth behind their emotions.
Don't judge someone, or anyone for that matter.
Everyone has a story to tell.
We need to put ourselves in their shoes and see from their eyes, to understand where they are coming from.
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.

4. Respect and Humility
Every single person deserves respect.
There is no one above another; nor is there anyone beneath us.
Treat everyone with respect.
No one has that right to look down on any other.
Be humble; we all have something to learn and to look up to each other, or better still, we are all at eye level with each other.

5. The World needs Kindness
Be Kind to one another.
Why, in the world do we need to be nasty or mean to another person?
Won't it be a better world if everyone is just a little nicer to one another, or treats everyone just like their own family?
Being kind could go a long way and it could make the world a truly better place to live in.

Last but not least, for all it matters, I truly believe in the existence of Justice.

Justice is always upheld no matter what; despite the conviction of Tom Robinson in the story  which was all attributed to discriminatory judgment, I still believe that justice exists.
It may not present itself directly nor visible to the naked eye, but Justice is always there and will continue to guide the way.

There are a whole lot more lessons which I could go on preaching about here; but you get the gist.

Atticus Finch is by doubt one of the most highlighted protagonist in this story; since his role was taking the center stage, but let's not forget about the courageous young little Scout and Jem and also the mysterious Boo, who have all played their roles in shaping the backdrop of the story.
Then there is the supposedly villain; Bob Ewell, whom as Atticus had defended, that we all just need to see his point of view from his side to understand his reasons.
Of course, we do not forget the accused; Tom Robinson, who placed his faith in Atticus and Justice and fought for himself until his dying breath. 

It is all in all a wonderfully spun plot with a compelling story; embedding the many moral lessons which we could all take away as key learnings.

It is that very reason the book is a recommended literary read, and each time, it just seems to spring a new perspective.
It is a tale as old as time yet gets better each and every time.

An author needs not many books to be published, but one good one is more than thousands of books published and such is the case with this book.

To Kill a Mockingbird is more than just a classic, it is truly a legend that will continue to live on.

Harper Lee has penned more than just a book; she has carved life lessons and her ideals into the society which will last for generations.

To Kill a Mockingbird is an icon in literature and I highly recommend the book for reading.

I know what I will be reading for the weekend definitely.

The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.

To the brilliant author, your work will continue to be remembered and you will always be in loving memory for lighting that world of literature and society.
May you now rest in peace.

*This is a tribute to the late Harper Lee who has passed away peacefully in her sleep last Friday at the age of 89*

She is one of my most respected literary authors and a true inspiration.

Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.

*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
Please kindly ask for permission if you need to use any of my images.

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