Friday, January 16, 2009

To Kill a Mockingbird

Even though our family has been busy with school and extra-curricular activities, I've been able to carve some time out for some reading for fun. Last semester our son, Timothy, had to read To Kill a Mockingbird and I decided to reread it. It has been far too long since I've read a classic novel, and this one is one of my favorites. So as I wait in line to pick up the kids from school, I pull out my little classic novel and read to pass the time.

One of the main reasons I like this novel is because of the way the characters were written. They are so genuine, especially the children. They do things like make up plays, spit on gate hinges to keep them from squeaking and get in playground fights. They also have wonderful names like Jem, Scout and Dill. They do and say impulsive things, just as kids would, and they reap the consequences, too. They hate school yet love learning, and realize the most important learning happens outside the school walls.

But the dialogues are just wonderful, and impart so much wisdom in their simplicities. There's Atticus who tells Scout, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb in his skin and walk around in it." Or when Atticus tells his kids, "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do." He lived that one out in front of their eyes, and the eyes of the town.

There's Scout's observation of Miss Maudie's Baptist faith as opposed to foot-washing Baptists. "True enough, Miss Maudie had an acid tongue in her head, and she didn't go around the neighborhood doing good, as did Miss Stephanie Crawford. But while no one with a grain of sense trusted Miss Stephanie, Jem and I had considerable faith in Miss Maudie. She was our friend."

Finally, though, there are wonderful little nuggets like, "They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."

It's such a wonderful book.

2 comments:

Gina C said...

I really should reread this one! And I know I have it somewhere in my house though my kids haven't read it yet.


How's the writing coming along? We miss you at http://writerinterrupted.ning.com!

Stacy said...

Gina,
I have to head back over there! After moving this past Summer, I'm just out of sorts!

I just finished this book, and it was wonderful. You close the pages and kind of exhale after reading it. And think. Did I mention it's wonderful?

I'd love to hear what you think when you finish it!