Each time I read this book, a different “universal truth” jumps out at me. When I was younger, I pond...moreNotes from an academic discussion about the book:
Each time I read this book, a different “universal truth” jumps out at me. When I was younger, I pondered the themes of prejudice, kindness, and dignity that run through the book, but now that I’m considerably older, what stuck out to me this time were the themes of innocence, and loss of innocence running through the whole book.
This reading I was particularly caught by the child-like perspective that the book gives each of the events. From the kids all thinking anything that touches the Radley property is poisoned, to Scout’s minimal understanding of the words used in the trial, but her complete understanding of the concepts. Likewise, with the exception of the trial, throughout the book innocence trumps experience. A particular example was when Scout first finds the goodies in the Radley tree. She finds the gum, ponders its origins, and decides that she’d like chewing the gum better than being all grown up about it. Jem, who always represents a more mature (but not much more until near the end) perspective, and he makes her spit it out when he finds out where she got it from. In the end though, Scout’s innocence let her get a good chew out of a wad of gum.
I think the fact that the book takes place over three years helps show the contrast between the innocent time at the beginning of the book, when Scout was six, and Dill, Jem and she played as relative equals, to Scout’s first day of school where Jem begins to brush her off as the “little sister.” By the end of the book, when Scout is nine, she may be physically older, but it seems that she is even more sheltered by Jem, who thinks the concept of the trial may be too grown up for her. He moves through the story from her equal to her protector, which only helps to keep Scout innocent through the book.
In the end though, the book really proves that there is something magical and golden about innocence. There is a purity and truth in innocence—whether it’s a dignified response to an unfair world, or simply an acceptance of things even if they are strange and different.
**spoiler alert** I had been warned by several people whose opinions I trust that this book would let me down, and leave me disappointed. Perhaps this...more**spoiler alert** I had been warned by several people whose opinions I trust that this book would let me down, and leave me disappointed. Perhaps this lowered my expectations, perhaps I came into it expecting more of the same.
This was by far, the best book in the series. This was the reward for sitting through all 90210 crap in all the other books. I will say this however: Reneesme is the WORST NAME EVER. It's REALLY bad. Cringe-worthy, actually. Every time your eyeball traipses across that name (and it does a lot in the second half) you will find yourself shaking your head and wondering when a name like that will make it onto People Magazines "Silliest Celebrity Baby Names" list.
Like all the previous books in the series, this one is totally predictable, right down to the ending and the finale. There are no surprises, but like a well-crafted work of art, you maybe familiar with it, but you still enjoy it, even if it has no novelty.
For me, this book was far more fantastical from beginning to end than the previous three, and I think that was its appeal. The less rooted in reality Stephenie Meyer is the better, it seems. This book also brought about the return of the Volturi, which as I've said before, was what redeemed Eclipse for me.
This book was far more mature (read: NOOKIE] than its predecessors as well, and I think that helped its appeal as well.
Still, there's nothing new. From the minute Edward and Bella finally get it on, you know how the rest of the book is going to go, but still, it's fun, craftily written and engaging. I was not disappointed at all.(less)