To Kill a Mockingbird - by Harper Lee
"a great classic about the coexistence of good and evil in a small town"
There are some books that are destined to become instant classics. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is an excellent example of a book that will remain known as one of the best ever written. It is a classic in American literature, yet still relates to issues of today. One of the most important themes in the book is the coexistence of good and evil living side by side in the same setting. Lee uses the main characters in the novel, a young girl named Scout and her older brother Jem, to illustrate this theme. The kids are constantly learning important life lessons through their father Atticus and their neighbor Miss Maudie as they try to discover whether human beings are essentially good or essentially evil.
Atticus is unique because even though he has seen all the evil of racism in the community, he still has hope for the good of man, while Jem grows up faced with people’s hatred and loses all faith in the good of people. Evil in the story is represented by Bob and Mayella Ewell, who use their status of being white to put an innocent black man in prison. Also the overall presence of racism and social inequality is evil. However there is still some good shown by Atticus, Miss Maudie, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. These characters have good hearts and show the hope for mankind even in times of hardships by defending what they believe in no matter what.
Another main theme is social inequality based on skin color. In the story Bob and Mayella Ewell are two poor, uneducated whites who are clearly lying in order to convict Tom Robinson, a good-hearted black man, of rape. Everyone supports them throughout the trial simply because they are white. Lee shows that in this certain time period it didn’t matter how good your character was; the only thing that mattered was your skin color or how much money you had. This is a hard lesson for Jem and Scout to learn but it makes them stronger and helps them realize the difference between right and wrong.
The setting of the story is in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. Scout and Jem grow up with their father Atticus and their friend Dill. Atticus defends Tom Robinson against the Ewells and gives an amazing argument as to why he is innocent. This angers the community and they refer to him as a “nigger lover.” The children get the aftermath of the trail from other kids and are forced to defend themselves and their family. Bob Ewell’s ultimate attempt at revenge is stopped by Boo Radley who shows his good heart and kindness. The story is heart-wrenching and you can’t help but sympathize for all of the people who get hurt during their journey to do the right thing.
This is an amazing novel that is very difficult to put down. I recommend this to anyone who is looking for a great classic tale that will make you laugh, cry, and just keep you reading. The characters are unique and you can definitely relate to their hardships and the difficult choices they make. Harper Lee’s writing style evokes real, raw emotion and she tells it like it is. The situations she puts the readers in are believable and will really put you back in the time period. Also being able to see Scout and Jem mature is an incredible journey within itself in the book and you will remember them long after you have finished this awesome page-turner.