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Timeless Classic - To Kill A Mockingbird

Heleina is currently a communication student at Saint Louis University in the Philippines.


The book starts with a rather famous quote from Charles Lamb.

“Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.”

Believe me when I say that this mere line intrigued me to further delve into the contents of the novel­­­. In all honesty, I was confused about this at first. What did the quote mean? How did he conclude that lawyers were children once?

To start with, the book is the title itself. To kill a mockingbird? A book about bird-hunting? It doesn’t seem like it, does it?

At first glance, the title and cover were vague, but it all made sense when I started reading the book.

To Kill A Mockingbird is about a lawyer, Atticus Finch, taking on the case of a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman and how this lawyer and his children’s lives took a drastic turn afterward. The book is told from the perspective of Scout Finch, Atticus’ daughter.

I was captivated by Atticus’ tenacity in defending his client, Tom Robinson, who is, take note, completely innocent and is a black man. Despite other people’s beliefs, Atticus stood his ground and believed this was all wrong. That Mr. Robinson didn’t deserve to suffer from the follies of the public. He didn’t let the narrow-mindedness of the people get to him. He defended Mr. Robinson until Mr. Robinson’s very last breath. He stood up for what was right. A true lawyer indeed.

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This novel broadly attacks the American government and its bigotries. The foundation of law and order at the same time prejudice and chaos. The atrocious and rather imprudent ideology of a higher race.

As for the title, I am in love with how Lee came up with the title. Okay, so get this, mockingbirds bring beauty and happiness into the world. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Miss Maudie, a character in the book, explains. The title is the summary of the story. To kill the innocent.

The interesting thing is that Lee wrote the story in the eyes of Scout Finch- an innocent child. Since this was from a kid’s perspective, some parts of the story turned lighthearted, like when she would play with her older brother, Jem Finch, and their neighbor, Dill. On a more serious note, though, the happenings that she witnessed taught her that life was never perfect. There will be times that you will be wronged and, unfortunately, you can’t do a thing about it. She learned a lot of things, especially why their reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley, stays away from people. She woke up to reality in the cruelest way possible. Imagine dealing with someone coming after your father just because he defended someone of the “lower” race. Absurd, right?

Going back to the quote, “Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” The quote perfectly connects to Mr. Atticus Finch. The quality that Lamb used to compare lawyers and children is none other than innocence. Lawyers are known to be dauntless and, at the same time, corrupted, for they defend their clients, whether they may be wrong or right. Lamb’s point is that they were innocent once. There was a time when they believed in fighting for what is right, which is what exactly Mr. Atticus Finch did. He fought against all odds because he felt that he was fighting for the right thing.

I fell in love with the novel because it depicts the harsh reality of this cruel world. Ironic, right? Some fall in love with mirthful fantasy; meanwhile, I fall in love with grim reality. I mean, why bother getting immensely attached to something that is a creation of pure illusion?

For me, it’s Lee’s subtle way, well, subtle in the case that only a few are engrossed with reading books, of saying “screw you” to the government and to the society. At this point, I would like you to imagine the two sides of a coin. You can never see them both at once, right? You would have to flip the coin to see one side and the other. This book is a flip of the social order. It shows how things go for the other side. How life is for the deprived and the less fortunate, in which this book deals with discrimination and racism, therefore, the blacks. Quite tongue-in-cheek, though, for thousands of books have been written focusing on discrimination and racism yet it remains a non-ending quagmire of humanity.

I highly recommend this book to students, teachers, lawmakers, and the whole society in general. I have recently come to terms that not everyone knows what happens on the other side of the coin. It would serve as a wake-up call to the human populace. For them to stop sleeping on the injustices of this realm.

All I can say is that it’s a beautifully written novel, and I’d give it a whopping 10/10. Salute to Lee on this one. This book is actually one of my favorites.

© 2022 Heleina Taeza

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