Tuesday 12 November 2013

Guest Blog by Melisa Marzett: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

It is strange but 'To Kill a Mockingbird' appeared in my collection accidentally long time ago.  Once surfing book stores I noticed an intriguing title "To Kill a Mockingbird."  The title promised a good detective story. I took the book, flipped through pages of cheap, yellowish paper, and, after reading one sentence at random, I could not put it down. Needless to say, I came home with this novel, which is still there on the shelf next to my favorite books.

Now I know that 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is considered to be classical American literature though it was written in the middle of the 20th century. According to numerous survey the book was chosen the best book of the second part of the 20th
century. Written on the autobiographical basis in 1960 by Harper Lee, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' brought Pulitzer Prize to its author in 1961. Finally in 1962 the movie based on this story was released, it was successful too. This is how the world literature became rich in one more brilliant story!

The writer uses an interesting method: the world of adults is shown through the eyes of a child. The narrator of this story is a little girl Jean-Louise Finch (Scout).  At the beginning of the book Scout is 6 years old; at the end she is 9 years old. The girl’s nickname perfectly fits her character. Jean Louise really sees everything, and even if can not explain some things, she still remembers all details. She will tell us her story being a grown up woman, filling every page with bright characters and unforgettable events. 
Scout has lost her mother, she loves with her father and brother John in a small town of Maycomb in the South of United States. The town lives a secluded life and has its own rules, and problems and disturbances of the outside world hardly concern its citizens. The action of the novel takes place in the mid 30s of the last century, during the Great Depression. No wonder that for a girl of her age games and entertainment are the most important things for Scout. She together with her brother and a friend named Jem (by the way, other well-known American writer Truman Capote served as a prototype for this character. Being a child, Harper Lee met Truman Capote). The plot of the novel leads its reader from children’s games to a court case and illegal prosecution of a black man who is accused in raping of a white woman. Scout’s father of, Atticus Finch, becomes devoted lawyer and defender of innocent men and this decision nearly costs him life, and brings tragedy to his daughter.
This story reveals psychological problems of growing up girl who gradually realizes that the world around her is not as well-being, as it seemed to be. Neighbors and even friends do not fit into the usual scheme imposed by the southern society, and Scout has to learn from her father what it’s like to compromise. She has to find out a lot of other incredible facts… For example, Scout discovers that Boo Radley, their neighbor, playing the evil monster in her games, is a kind-hearted man living a difficult life full of suffering.
In addition, in the novel provides us with excellent pictures of provincial life, these scenes could be independent short stories. Just remember the story about a rare event in the life of Meycomb, a snowfall, which Jean-Louise see for the first time in her life. Wonderful language of the writer is another splendid detail of this book. The charm of the book is created thanks to sincere and lively intonations, expressive and vivid details. And despite of the tragic tone of the book, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is full of sparkling humor, as the childhood is the happiest time, and Scout keeps it in her memory as a wonderful period of life first of all.
It is difficult to define the genre of this book. It is impossible to say that 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is a woman's novel, children's book or autobiographical story. Most probably, it's a mixture of these three genres, a brilliant mixture!
After 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Harper Lee wrote nothing. There were rumors that she was working on another novel, however, she realized that it was impossible to reach the level she put in her first book and the second novel was never written. The readers can feel sorry for this situation. But maybe, it was the right choice. It's certainly better than publishing countless books without real power and taste. In the memory of grateful readers Harper Lee remains the author of one masterpiece.

Words by writer, Melissa Marzett. Imaged sourced by Melissa Marzett.You are welcome to contact Melisa Marzett here. You can read other works by Melisa Marzett here.

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