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Thursday, August 19, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird Thoughts

That's right!  I managed to read To Kill a Mockingbird for Amy's challenge at Hope is the Word.  I have read this many times and look forward to reviewing Mockingbird Parables in the future and possibly share some thoughts on Scout, Atticus, and Boo, too.  Before I read those, I wanted a fresh reading of TKAM (even though I listened to the audio version earlier this year).  This is a lengthy post, but it was fun to write, and I hope to read.

To Kill a MockingbirdFirst, I have to say that I have no desire to truly review TKAM.  It's a classic,heartwarming, and definitely thought-provoking.  Through the eyes of a girl named Scout, we see how a town responds to racial injustices of an earlier time.

Scout's story of how she and her brother spend their summers and how their father, Atticus, responds to a town in Alabama in during the Depression...when a black man is accused of raping a white woman.  There are moments when it's so ugly that it's sad, but there are some wonderful insights with this book, too.  Though it always throws me for a loop to read the n-word and to read children using curse words, I still love this book.

I decided to share some quotes from TKAM.  Some capture parts of the book that I like, others say something that struck my fancy.

Scout is very much a tomboy.  From my very first reading, I admired it.  Apparently Jem did too, because he frequently said things like this.  (page 38)
"I swear, Scout, sometimes you act so much like a girl it's mortifyin'."

On misuse of the Bible. (page 45)
  "You are too young to understand it," she said, "but sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of-oh, of your father."
  ...Miss Maudie laughed.  "Wasn't talking about your father," she said.  "What I meant was, if Atticus Finch drank until he was drunk he wouldn't be as hard as some men are at their best.  There are just some kind of men who-who're so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results."

Sibling love (and guilt). (page 56)
  "I'm going after 'em," he said.
  I sat upright.  "You can't.  I won't let you."
  He was struggling with his shirt.  "I've got to."
  "You do an' I'll wake up Atticus." 
  "You do and I'll kill you."
...He blew out his breath patiently.  "I-it's like this, Scout," he muttered.  "Atticus ain't ever whipped me since I can remember.  I wanta keep it that way."
  This was a thought.  It seemed that Atticus threatened us every other day.  "You mean he's never caught you at anything."
  "Maybe so, but-I just wanta keep it that way, Scout.  We shouldn'a done that tonight, Scout."

On  children's tough questions. (page 87)
"Jack!  When a child askes you something, answer him, for goodness' sake.  But don't make a production of it.  Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em."

The title's first reference.  (page 90)
  "I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds.  Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

More sibling love (when Jem had to apologize to an elderly neighbor woman). (page 104)
  For the life of me, I could not understand how he could sit there in cold blood and read a newspaper when his only son stood an excellent chance of being murdered with a Confederate Army relic.  Of course Jem antagonized me sometimes until I could kill him, but when it came down to it he was all I had.  Atticus did not realize this, or if he did, he didn't care.

Atticus was a wise man and was able to reassure his children repeatedly with this phrase.  (Jem even uses this phrase to reassure Scout in another place in the book.)  (page 134)
  I felt his hand on the back of my head.  "Don't you worry about anything," he said.  "It's not time to worry."

Jem and Scout were discussing Old Family and background.  Jem thought there were four different types of people in Maycomb County.  Scout thought differently; this is what she said. (page 226)
  "No, everybody's gotta learn, nobody's born knowin'.  That Walter's as smart as he can be, he just gets held back sometimes because he has to stay out and help his daddy.  Nothin's wrong with him.  Naw, Jem, I think there's just one kind of folks.  Folks."

Scout on racial and religious prejudices. (page 2467)
  "She hates Hitler a lot..."
  "What's wrong with that?"
  "Well, she went on today about how bad it was him treatin the Jews like that.  Jem, it's not right to persecute anybody, is it?  I mean have mean thoughts about anybody, even, is it?"
  "Gracious no, Scout.  What's eatin' you?"
  "Well, coming out of the courthouse that night Miss Gates was-she was goin' down the steps in front of us, you musta seen her-she was talking with Miss Stephanie Crawford.  I heard her say it's time somebody taught them a lesson, then were gettin' way above themselves, an' the next thing they think they can do is marry us.  Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an' then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home-"

I don't know if these quotes will encourage someone to read To Kill a Mockingbird, but I hope that you're willing to if you never have!  If you aren't much of a reader, the movie (starring Gregory Peck) is excellent, too, and can be found in most libraries!

Do you have a favorite part of TKAM or a favorite quote?  I'd love to hear it!


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Oh, Annette, this is great! I'm with you--how would one "review" this fantastic book, anyway? I'm thinking I'll probably share my favorite quotes, too.

Carrie said...

I finished reading it last week and yes, I've been thinking to myself, "How, exactly, am I supposed to review this?" =) There were a great number of quotes that I thought were particularly poignant and I liked the ones you picked out!

Now I'm STILL working on my post...

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