Tuesday, 26 May 2020

To Kill A Mockingbird: Imperfect World, Perfect Idealism (and Perfect Dad)

I decided to reread To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the earliest English books that I read. My friend gave it to me because I was learning to speak English, and she insisted that it's not so difficult. Well, for me, at that time, it was not that easy.

But the storytelling helps a lot. Racism, sexism, and class-difference from a 7-years old point of view? Who wouldn't love to read that? Oh, and a Dad in dazzling armour of justice is sure a plus point. Let's just get to the story.


Jem and Jean Louise (Scout) are the children of a lawyer called Atticus Finch. They live in a little town called Maycomb with their different neighbours. In Maycomb, people live with an awareness of their position or class in the society. Even the kids recognize this.

The thing about it is, our kind of folks don’t like the Cunninghams, the Cunninghams don’t like the Ewells, and the Ewells hate and despise the colored folks.

Like in so many places in the United States at that time, the coloured people are deemed to be the lowest caste in society. However, Jem and Scout's father, Atticus, disagrees.

Atticus really cares about how his child will grow up in that neighbourhood. He wants his children to grow up as responsible, well-mannered, and at the same time kind people, who can get along with everybody without being false to their principles. In order to achieve that, Atticus takes the best, but not the easiest road - being a good example.

One of the reasons why he agrees to defend a black man with little chance to win the case is that he wants to be able to live peaceably with his conscience and to teach his children the right way to see and treat people.

The black man being discussed is Tom Robinson. He's a respectable (if so can be stated of a coloured man at that time) person, living quietly with his wife and children. He is charged with rape and violence of a young girl called Mayella Ewell. Her father is widely known as a drunkard and their family life is by no means a happy one.

Jem and Scout get a lot of trouble around the neighbourhood because of their father's stand. Defending a black person is not a popular action at the time, and both kids are ridiculed by neighbours, schoolmates, and even relatives. Nevertheless, Atticus keeps going.

In time, he is able to prove that Tom Robinson is not guilty, with a suggestion that Bob Ewell (Mayella's father) is the actual villain behind the beating. Even so, the jury comes to an unanimous decision: Tom Robinson is guilty. If the court's decision is devastating enough, it's not the worst. Not long after, a news comes that Tom Robinson was shot in his attempt to run away, and died.


I think To Kill A Mockingbird is worthy of being in many must-read lists of all time. The way it wraps the issues that still haunt us even today (the world is far from being rid of prejudice and racism) through the mind of a young, innocent, child is very endearing. It also shows how education and one's experiences can influence his view on people around him.

I'm aware of the 'sequel' of this book being out. No, I haven't read it. Will I? I don't know. There's mixed review about the book, and it gives me mixed feeling about reading it. Any idea what to expect?


I just realised that I've had this in my draft list for so so long, and I haven't updated for years. Revisiting this blog brings a lot of beautiful and endearing memories.


  1. Hi Lemon Tree! I saw one of your comments on my blog recently and was wondering if you still blogged. :) Nice to hear from you again!

    I really enjoyed TKAM, but not Go Set a Watchman. I found the latter to be really unsettling, and I'm not fully convinced that Harper Lee approved of its publication. Anyways, just my 2 cents. :)

    Take care!