To Kill A Mockingbird, Reviewed by Maya Viswanathan, 12

Book Reviews  /   /  By Maya V
Stone Soup Magazine
September 2018

To Kill A Mockingbird is about Scout, a girl growing up in Alabama with her brother Jem, a daring adventurous boy, her friend Dill, Calpurnia, a motherlike figure who watches over her, and Atticus, her father, a kind and caring person who stands up for what is right. When Tom Robinson, a black man, is wrongly accused of committing a crime, the Judge knows that Atticus is the right person to be Tom Robinson’s lawyer. In Alabama, blacks had different churches and had their own section of the courtroom. They didn’t mix with whites. When a black man was accused by a white man, he was nearly sure to lose. Society was clearly very different then. But despite the differences in society, I can relate to Scout as well as if she was growing up in the 21st century.

One thing that helps me relate to Scout is that the book is written from her point of view. Although the story is about Tom Robinson’s case, it also talks about Scout’s daily troubles from Jem ignoring her to her teacher reprimanding her. These details about her daily life are what make the book hard to put down. Tom Robinson’s case causes problems for Scout. People were angry with her father and it infuriated her because she felt that people have no right to be angry. At the same time it scared her. She worried that their anger will lead to actions against her father. Although I never felt such feelings, I can easily understand the way Scout thinks.

Every other character in To Kill A Mockingbird is just as vibrant and realistic. Another example is Calpurnia. At the beginning of the book, Scout does not like Calpurnia because she is too strict. However, as the book goes on, Scout grows fonder of Calpurnia. Calpurnia stays as strict as she always was but in other ways, she proves that she cares. When Atticus was out of town, she took Jem and Scout to church with her. When miss Lula May, another woman who went to Calpurnia’s church, said that Jem and Scout should not be at the church because they were white, Calpurnia defended them. I can relate to this because my mother is strict with me. She wants me to work hard on math and music. Recently, she told me to start playing a song that my violin teacher had not assigned yet. I was very annoyed by this. I was already working hard and didn’t need to add this extra work to my practice. Reading about Calpurnia and Scout reminded me that my mom is strict with me because she cares about me and wants me to excel. Like my mother, Calpurnia really cared about Jem and Scout. She was like a mother to them. and by the end of the book they wouldn’t think of letting her leave. Through Calpurnia and other characters, To Kill A Mockingbird shows that nobody is perfect and everyone is good in some way.

Tom Robinson was not perfect, but he was innocent. He was convicted because he was black. We have come a long way, but today African Americans are still treated unfairly and we should do our best to prevent it. To Kill A Mockingbird shows us how wrong prejudice is and reminds us to try to be fair and just. We also learn form Atticus to stand up for what we believe in and to never give up. There is a lot to learn from this book and you should read it to discover plenty of wise thoughts and ideas.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1960. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!

Have you read this book? Or do you plan on reading it? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

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One Comment
 
  1. William Rubel September 6, 2018 at 9:11 am Reply

    Maya, thank you for this review. I appreciate the details from your own life that you brought into this review. And, yes, I fully agree with your assessment that while lots has changed since the fictional Tom Robinson was wrongfully convicted, at the same time, for many African Americans, a core truth has not changed: because of their skin color they are at greater risk of arrest, conviction, or even of been killed by police than Americans with lighter colored skin. These are certainly times in which we need to be like Atticus and stand up for what is write and confront what is wrong.

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