ASSIGNMENT 1 : READING FOR PLEASURE
Submitted by: J.Puja , Roll no: 171102044,
II B.A. English Literature. NOVEL: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
One of America’s most famous and elusive novelists is Harper Lee (1926-2016).Her two novels, ‘To kill a mockingbird’ and ‘Go set a watchman’ are celebrated by English literarians as unputdownable works even today. She won the Pulitzer for ‘To kill a mockingbird’ which was published in 1960.
This novel is set in 1930s Alabama. ‘To kill a mockingbird’ tells the story of Miss.Scout Finch, a young girl and her father Mr.Atticus Finch, a lawyer in Maycomb. This story is both a coming-of-age tale and an insightful social commentary: When the small Alabama of Maycomb is rolled by the trial of an African American man, Mr.Tom Robinson, who was accused of raping a white woman named Miss.Mayella Ewell. After the death of Scout’s mother, Miss.Calpurnia took care of Atticus Finch, Scout and his son Mr.Jem Finch (Scout’s elder brother). Calpurnia was a coloured woman and the family cook for the Finch’s family.
Apart from the protagonist, her brother Jem Finch and her friend Dill are to be appreciated. The curiosity of these three children about the happenings of incidents in Maycomb are well demonstrated in simple terms. The mysterious neighbour Mr.Arthur Radley(who was called by the neighbourhood children as ‘Boo Radley’) was a good twist at the end of the novel, who saved Scout and Jem. Scout Finch is the protagonist of this novel. She confronts difficult questions of Gender, Class and Prejudice.
Scout Finch craves learning. Her experiences at the school brings hard lessons about social class in Maycomb and what it means to feel empathy for those who are marginated.
“I think there is just one kind of folks. Folks…”
She learns that breaking from gender expectations requires leaving the innocence of childhood behind and more than a little bravery.
“Shoot all the Bluejays if you want, if you can hit’em. But remember, it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
Tom Robinson’s case, which focuses on a false accusation of rape forces Scout to confront the painful realization that prejudice can overshadow truth. Atticus was assigned by the court-house to defend Tom Robinson. This resulted in a commotion among the white people of Maycomb and word spread soon throughout the town. People started to think and talk bad about Atticus and called him a ‘nigger-lover’, which his children didn’t like but tried to remain calm as Atticus said. This case has also caused danger to the lives of Scout and Jem as Mayella Ewell’s father tried to kill them but was finally saved by Arthur Radley.
“Atticus, he was real nice”, Scout said.
“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them” said Atticus Finch.
Thus, this novel is a well-structured story of a young girl, a town, a glimpse of the age where the state of African Americans was not good. This book has been made into 10,00,000 copies each year and sold all around the world. It is one of the most influential novels which English literary history has ever seen.