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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The book that caught my attention was the classic, ever-enchanting To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The book revolves around a small family of three: Atticus, Jem, Scout Finch, and the servant, though not related by blood, Calpurnia. It is told in the perspective of the young, naive 8-yr.old Scout. She grows up in the home of her father Atticus. He is a man of unfaltering good will and humor, and partly because of this, Scout and Jem have difficulty understanding the world and its cruel ways. Jem and Scout learn about the problems of the world and the forces that cause the people of Maycomb to show compassion in one crisis and unreasoning cruelty in another, how one second it can be forgiving to a white man and death cruel to a black. Their curiosity grows as more and more adult mysteries become apparent to them. They begin to dwell in the curiosities of Maycomb's inhabitants, including fascinating Boo Radley, who never leaves his house, the terrible temper of Mrs. Dubose down the street, the weird traditions of the Cunningham family, and the fine distinctions that make the Finch family "quality" .Through the interactions, the children learn to view the world in a different perspective than the narrow way they had always seen it as. The events lead up to the moment Atticus, who is an attorney, tries to defend Tom Robinson, a slave accused of raping a white woman, which at the time was indespicable and automatically a death sentence. And because Atticus is who he is, he and his children are thrown into a conflict that ends up changing their lives. When their father loses the case, it gets Scout to thinking that she thought she knew just about as much about the world as she needed to, until she found out that "you don't really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
The place of this enchanting, intensely moving story is Maycomb, Alabama. The time is the Depression, but Scout and her brother, Jem, are hardly depressed. They have appalling gifts for entertaining themselves and marvelous friends who they grow to love, which includes their summertime friend Dill. During the Depression, money became scarce, and Alabama depended very much on slaves and were not very supportive of them or their rights, which is mostly the reason why Tom Robinson was found guilty. Black people were of a lower race to the whites back then, and did not need to be paid. They were like free workers, which is exactly what they needed in that time of crisis.
Atticus Finch was introduced into the story by his daughter Scout, who is the narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird. He is a father and a lawyer of good intention. He is a static character. He is always good even though there were times that in her eyes, it looked like what he was doing was bad. His stern but fair attitude toward Jem and Scout reaches into the courtroom as well. He politely proves that Bob Ewell is a liar; he respectfully questions Mayella about her role in Tom's crisis. His friends including longtime friend Miss Maudie notice and admire that "Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets". He thinks that all men are equal and should be treated equally. He doesn't fall into the peer pressure of the world and lower black people. He admonishes Scout not to use racial slurs, and is careful to always use the terms acceptable for his time and culture. He is a character that everyone should look up to.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to read memoirs and historical fiction. It is a marvelous story that clearly expresses the coming-of-age mind set. I immediately grew a liking for the characters, but it still had that sense emptiness by the end. The ending was good; don't get me wrong, but I feel it could have been better. I would give this book four out five stars.




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