To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of those books that pose the fundamental question about the being of humanity. The protagonist, Atticus Finch with his strong adherence to ethics and morality rises above the society with the progression of the novel’s plot.
The book focuses on the parameters of right and wrong, which means crossing the man made laws even. Ethical dilemma and inequality has always been a part of social milieu irrespective of any nation, which makes this book widely read across the globe even today.
The story is about three teenage children, Jem, his sister Scout Finch and their neighborhood friend Dill Harris. The children spend their summer vacations together, talking about their petty quarrels, families and neighbors. The book also has an important but latent character called Boo Radley, a recluse, who also happens to be the children’s topic of discussion and interest. Jem and Scout Finch’s father, Atticus Finch is a lawyer. Besides them, there is another character, an old cranky Mrs. Dubose, who is morphine addict but deep down in her heart knows that addiction is not good and aspire to live a free life.
The plot takes a turn with a rumor, which talks about Tom Robinson, a black man raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. Tom was proved guilty in spite of significant evidence of his innocence. He was later killed while escaping prison. All these incidents create despondency in children as well in Atticus’, who also happens to lose faith in justice. Eventually, the ‘real’ world surfaces in front of the children, where the irrationality of racism is laid bare.
Atticus stood against the entire town where majority was ruled by the whites only for the sake of fair justice. No one recognizes that except for his children and the Negro community of course.
Although a simple story but it darts one of the most powerful message across ages. The book gave full justice to the times, prejudice and fear that the African-Americans experienced in 1930s America and a man of conscience that lived in the same time, a person who had no fear of society for he only believed in equality amongst men, which had a different connotation during the then period.
One of the most beautifully written classic sodden with didactic element is fit to read across all ages and countries. It questions the humanity and in a way tries to make a better world, a world that is seen through the eyes of children.