Lessons learned from a novel

To Kill A Mockingbird was published on July 11, 1960.  The book was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 1962.

To  Kill a Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee. It was instantly successful and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936 — when she was 10 years old.  The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality.

The book has valuable lessons about an evil that needed to be brought into the open and defeated.  I’ve heard it said of this time, “We liberated not just black people, we liberated white people.”  Surely, Harper Lee contributed to this liberation with her book.

What defeats evil?  Is it kindness?  Could it be knowledge which seems to tame, if not defeat, fear?  Is there a lesson you learned from To Kill A Mockingbird?  How do the lessons the novel offers relate to problems in our world today — immigration, embracing the different cultures of all countries, fears of the unknown?  What other current issues could we relate to this timeless novel and the lessons it offers?



Filed under Book Reviews, Life Lessons, Original writings

8 responses to “Lessons learned from a novel

  1. Here’s one of many interesting articles written about the 50th anniversary of this book. Tom Brokaw uses his experiences as father of daughters to examine the relationship of Scout (the books narrator) to her father, Atticus, who defended an innocent black man. His op-ed piece lends a different perspective and also gives a glimpse into that special relationship between daughters and fathers. One quote I took note of from his account was, “I think there is a really distinct relationship between fathers and daughters, and one of the things that happens, if there’s a mother around, is that when the girls get to be around thirteen, they go to war with their mothers, and then the fathers are sanctuaries in some ways or the intermediaries.”

    To Kill a Mockingbird Turns 50
    by Tom Brokaw

  2. We could use a few more like Atticus Finch today. Are those qualities still in most people?

    I think YES!

    We may not be as willing to be publicly vulnerable and we shy away because we know ridicule seems easily dealt out, but I have great and abiding faith in the goodness of mankind.

    • For those who seem ready to dish out ridicule easily, we should be slow to find fault. What horrors in their lives allow them to be less than kind? Maybe kindness is even more needed when dealing with those who seem mean, maybe they’ve never had the opportunity to see kindness.

      • indypendent

        And then there are people who truly enjoy being mean.

        I’ve come across quite a few people who have had it pretty good. They have always had good health, a good job, a nice house, nice car and even a boat or an RV.

        But yet these people are constantly griping and complaining about something.

        Some people don’t know when they have it so good because they have never had to do without.

  3. wicked

    Harper Lee and Truman Capote were childhood friends. She helped him when he was writing In Cold Blood. I recently read some interesting articles about her online. I should’ve bookmarked them. 😦

    I remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird on my own, without being told to read it by a teacher. LOL And I remember crying and crying, first when Atticus lost the case, then when Tom was killed, and finally when Scout was introduced to Boo Radley. Gregory Peck was excellent in the role of Atticus. One small note of trivia: It was Robert Duvall’s first movie.

    Another bit of trivia about the movie from IMDB:
    The watch used in the film was a prop, but Harper Lee gave Gregory Peck her father’s watch after the film was completed because he reminded her so much of him.

    And another:
    The first scene that Gregory Peck shot showed him returning home from his character’s law office while his children ran to greet him. Harper Lee was a guest on the set that day, and Peck noticed her crying after the scene was filmed. “Why are you crying?” Peck asked. Peck had looked just like her late father, the model for Atticus, Lee explained; Peck even had a little round pot belly like her father’s. “That’s not a pot belly, Harper,” Peck told her, “That’s great acting.”


    • I plan to reread the book, it’s been too many long years and I easily confuse scenes from the movie. I don’t have a copy! But I will find one. 😉

  4. indypendent

    This movie was just on recently – I don’t know which channel because we have Direct TV – too many channels to keep track of – LOL.

    I always make it a point to watch the movie. I’ve read the book and there is no comparison between reading and the movie. Sometimes the movie version does not live up to the book.

    But in this case – I think Gregory Peck and the rest of the cast made the movie memorable and so thought-provoking.

    I remember the moment in the movie when Tom was being made to testify about what happened in the house. You could tell in his eyes that he did not want to get the white woman into trouble so he did his best to protect her. Because he knew that her intolerant father would never stand for his daughter being the one that invited Tom into that house that day. But yet he continued on and told the truth – even when he knew the truth would not save him.

    I was struck by the fact that Tom still had enough compassion in his soul to think of the white woman when he was faced with all that racial hatred as he looked out over the audience.

    This is the first time I’ve watched this movie with the knowledge that our country has its first black president. And yet we still see the ugly face of racial hatred rearing its head.