Jennifer's Reviews > To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
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Dec 07, 07

bookshelves: american-literature, books-i-ve-named-pets-after, classics, own, fiction
Read in March, 2005

Notes 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.

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Brad Weaver Jennifer, it was refreshing to read your review in the midst of several reviews that simply do not understand the overriding concept of this book. The real challenge for me was to go back in my memory and try to read the book as a nine year old child. (I remeber returning to my childhood home and the "field" that seemed a mile long was in reality about 50 yards long). The book is about the loss and restoration of innocence, and perhaps no one exemplifies this more than Boo Radley.


Pattimaris1675 Aolcom What a wonderful review you gave of this book and its obvious you got it!


Dharshan Das Well I am yet to read the book but after reading this review i believe i need to read between the lines to get the whole beauty of this classic! Thankfully your review being devoid of spoilers and at the same time having subtle hints ab out what to look out for will surely help me appreciate the book better when I read it for myself!


message 4: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel Brado I just finished reading this book yesterday. Pretty cool.
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