Deciding on my favorite book I have read is the closet to torture I have ever experienced. I have always been a book worm, ever since I was a young kid. I started off with comics, then eventually ventured on to Enid Blyton series, Harry Potter series and the rest is history. I became hooked on experiencing the worlds created by these authors. I love how I am able to escape into another realm and engage with the thoughts and views of the characters in the books. It was after much thought and deliberation I deduced that favorite novel thus far is “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. The book is set during the civil war period in the United States and chronicles the life of a young girl Skip as she grows up in the South. This book, despite its long length, is one of my favorite for several reasons. Firstly it touches upon a range of issues such as racism, friendship, family and politics all seen through the eyes of an adolescent girl. This book touches on several themes that are near and dear to my heart.
I love reading books on the progression of civil rights in the United States; it’s no surprise therefore that I enjoyed the setting of the novel. In the novel the protagonist’s father’s defended a black male who has been accused of raping a poor white girl. Although the community believes that he did not commit it, no one believes that the black male will be acquitted in court. The protagonist’s father has been asked to represent the man and a series of interesting events on fold. What is most interesting about this event in the novel is understanding how it is processed by the 7 year old protagonist Skip. Skip is an outspoken, energetic kid who loves her father and staunchly opposes persons she believes to be dishonest. Growing up with a black maid she understands some of the difficulties that the minority group faces but she struggles to understand why the world she lives in would unfairly treat a person because of their status. As she grows old she comes to learn about the injustices and evil ways of the world and tries unsuccessfully to reconcile this with their own beliefs. When her father loses the case it leaves a deep mark on Skip and she is never quite the same again. The novel does a fair job of depicting the struggles of the black minority during the time of segregation. However rather than picking sides in the argument, the author use Skip as anindependentobserver processing the events. In this sense it is highly effective in showing the true injustices of segregation and the struggles of those involved in the civil rights movement from an impartial perspective. This forces the reader to question within themselves the morality of the right of whites to have more power over blacks.
The novel is very special to me because if their focus on Family. Skip and her brother share a very close relationship with their Dad, Atticus. Atticus, who is a widow, takes an unconventional approach to child rearing and constantly worries whether he is doing a good job, especially as it concerns his daughter. While he does appear to be a fair and impartial disciplinarian, he also has a very close relationship with his kids. Instead of shielding them from his work as a lawyer and the events around them, he is honest with them and encourages them to think for themselves. In a world whereracism is rampant and people are afraid to voice the truth he becomes a symbol for change. He openly questions the reasoning behind segregation and voices his opinions regardless of whether people will isolate him. His ability to raise open-minded and decent kids in spite of the circumstances he faces us truly admirable and inspires me to be the voice for those who are less fortunate in society.
One thing I enjoyed most about this novel was its depiction of the childhood relationship between Skip, her brother and their friend Dil. It reminds me of what it was like to be carefree as a kid. Sometimes it’s easy to forgot what a blessing it is to have a childhood that is carefree and shielded from the harshness of life. Eventually as the novel progress you witness how the events of their community shape their thoughtsand beliefs about the world. This feeling is something that rings home time and time again for me because huge parts of my own growth wereshaped from my own experiences as a child. For a larger part of the novel, Skip and her gang speculated about the circumstancessurrounding their mysterious neighbours. We see them pulling pranks to see who would be the one to find out what really went on in the house. They often had fights and quarrels about what games to play and who was right and who was wrong. The author’s ability to intertwine these playful themesagainst the background of more serious themes of rape and racism is truly impressive. It serves as a way to lighten the tone of the novel and create and interesting perspective for the reader.
In coming up with my list I have to say that I was torn as between two other books “Gone with the wind” by Margaret Mitchell and “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett. Again both these books appeal to me because of their historical significance and richness in detail. I love books that I can get completely lost in the characters and the world created by the authors. In the novel “Pillars of the Earth”, while it does not directly deal with the themes of civil rights, it deals with the prejudices faced by the lower class in a period where the Catholic Church was a powerful entity. Similarly, “Gone with the Wind” was a historical novel that chronicled the struggles faced by the protagonist Scarlett O’Hara during the civil war in the United States. Both dealt with themes of war, poverty, race, class, love and power. Each of these books has left a deep impression on me due to their rich descriptions of the period in time. They also made me realize that even though they were set in different time periods and settings, humans on a whole strive for the same things in life, the right to live a life of love and fulfillment of purpose.