To Kill A Mockingbird


By Harper Lee


To Kill a Mockingbird left a lasting impression on me. At the time it
was written, it must have been looked down upon as a piece of literature
since there was so much hatred towards negroes in the 1950's that no one
could probably realize the unjustified prejudice against them. It
especially deals with how the main character, Atticus Finch, deals with the
controversy surrounding his actions and how he tries to shelter his family
from it.

The book's climax, where it is brought to a final solution, takes place
at the trial. A woman named Mayella Ewell, accuses a black man named of
Tom Robinson of rape. In truth, these claims are false, but she knows she
can get away with it, since the people in those days had the utmost respect
for white women, and black men were looked down upon as still being slaves,
even if they weren't in shackles. The main character, Atticus Finch,
defends Tom in the whole case. He comes under fire and is commonly known
in the neighborhood as a "Nigger lover" for defending Tom, and his
children's friends make fun of them at school since their father is
defending Tom. Atticus tries his best to be a fair lawyer like he always
was, and knows that Tom didn't commit the rape. The trial comes around,
and Mayella Ewell is very confident she will win the case because if her
standing in society as a respectable woman who would never lie over her
honor. When it comes time for Atticus to question Mayella, he proves that
indeed Tom couldn't have committed the rape. Mayella is silent, and then
the jury leaves to come up with a verdict. Although they know Tom was
innocent, the case now becomes a trial of honor; of whom to say is wrong.
When they come back, they find Tom guilty. He is sentenced to be hung, and
it is carried out. Thus ends the climax, but not the moral. Afterward,
Mayella's father, Bob Ewell guarantees revenge against Atticus for having
proved her daughter a liar. As Atticus' children are walking home from the
Halloween pageant, they realize they are being followed and soon they are
attacked. The next thing they know is that they are being carried home,
and Jem has a broken arm and Scout a couple of bruises. In Jem's sick
room, Scout notices the presence of the man who carried Jem home and
discovers that the man is Boo Radley, a mysterious next-door neighbor who
they never really talked to but know he is a very friendly person by the
way he leaves candy for them on the way to school in a hollow tree outside
his house. She later realizes that he had saved their lives. She accepts
him as a friend and tells Atticus that he is "Real nice." Atticus agrees
and reminds her that most people are when you get to know them.

I enjoyed reading this book, and if nothing else it opened my eyes to
the common prejudices that still exist in today's society. The book
derives its name from when Scout, who serves as the narrator, and her older
brother Jem when they both receive air rifles for Christmas. They are
given specific instructions never to kill a mockingbird because it sings
beautiful songs and does no damage to anyone. I realized that this can be
contrasted from the plot of the book, when Atticus defends Tom.