To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the greatest books written in the 20th Century. Set in the 1930s, the reader sees life in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama through the eyes of young Jean Louise Finch (nicknamed Scout), daughter of attorney Atticus Finch. Scout’s mother died when Scout was just a toddler, so she has no memory of her mother. Instead, she is brought up by her father, Atticus, and older brother Jeremy, whom she refers to as Jem. Scout is a tomboy in all respects and spends her time playing with her brother Jem and their friend, Dill. Life in Maycomb revolves around the social structure of the Deep South. Relationships between upper society and lower society as well as Blacks and Whites are at the heart of this story. When Atticus chooses to represent a black man accused of raping a white woman, Scout faces harsh treatment from people within her school and the town in general. The trial of Tom Robinson is one of the greatest stories included in this book. As a teacher, I used this book to teach students about racial prejudice and sexual stereotypes. There is also much to learn about compassion, honor and respect. I recommend this book as one of the best books I have ever read.
[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird – the feature film adaptation of the novel, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, both by Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Clemens).] [ official Harper Lee web site ]
To Kill a Mockingbird
adapted from the novel by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird was nominated for many Academy Awards in 1963, including Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Gregory Peck won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his outstanding portrayal of Atticus Finch, a Southern lawyer who chooses to represent a Black man accused of raping a white woman in 1930s Alabama. Mary Badham does a wonderful job portraying Scout Finch, tomboy daughter of Atticus, who tells us the story as seen through the eyes of a young girl in a town torn apart by racial tensions in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. Horton Foote won the Academy Award for his excellent screenplay adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel. My favorite performance in the movie is the short glimpse of a young Robert Duvall as the mysterious Boo Radley. This is a wonderful film and well worth seeing.
[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official To Kill a Mockingbird Facebook page ]
Go Set a Watchman
by Harper Lee
As a lifelong fan of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I was thrilled when I heard the news that another book by Harper Lee had been discovered and was set to come out in hardback this month. Like many people, I rushed to the bookstore and purchased a copy so that I could devour the book before other people could tell me their opinion of the book and reveal important plot points. I knew enough about the book to know that it featured an adult version of Scout reminiscing about her childhood. This book, written before Lee’s masterpiece “To Kill a Mockingbird,” has stories of Scout’s childhood and coming of age which would have been an excellent book to follow up her earlier success. However, the stories pale in comparison to the changes in the adult characters: Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, and the family’s cook, Calpurnia, in particular, are almost unrecognizable. The adult Scout finds herself in the midst of racial tensions and family turmoil when she goes back home in the late 1950s. I agree with other reviewers who have said that the book would have been better if there had been some editing prior to publishing. Although I felt comfortable using “To Kill a Mockingbird” in the classroom to teach about prejudice, I would not use this book in a Middle School classroom. However, this book would make an excellent book to discuss as a One Book One Lincoln title in the future. This title will not be remembered as a classic in my opinion. I choose to remember Atticus as he was viewed by the young Scout.
[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.] [ official Harper Lee web site ]
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