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To Kill A Mockingbird

Book Review
By Sukanya Venkatraman

“Shoot all the bluejays you want but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”

Set in the 1930s in the sleepy town of Maycomb, To kill a mockingbird, is, essentially, a simple story about growing up. Woven delicately into this, is an epic about racism, and its effects on the society. It is, however, not a blunt, in-your-face description of the immorality of racism. However,  through the eyes of  Jean Louise Finch(Scout), the author profoundly, yet gently, describes the sheer lack of reason and logic to a white man’s pride in his so-called superior race and the unfairness a Negro faces in a racist society.
Scout and her older brother Jeremy Louise Finch (Jem) live with their father, Atticus Finch, a lawyer. When Atticus is required to defend a Negro, in a rape-accusation case, he realises that the following months would reveal, to him and his children, the cruel and prejudiced side of the people of Maycomb. While he knows that even though logic and evidence is on the defendant’s side, convincing and expecting a jury to deliver a verdict against a white man, Bob Ewell, based on a Negro, Tom Robinson’s words, would be asking for too much.
 As the story progresses one grows along with the characters, and is given an opportunity to view a white man’s pride, the primary cause of racism, through a child’s eyes. What stands out, however, is that Scout’s and Jem’s lives are not primarily defined by the problems they face and lessons they learn while Tom’s case progresses. Rather, it is just a part that helps in their growing up and forming values and beliefs.
It’s a deeply moving and compassionate book that makes one realise that sometimes we need to look through a child’s eyes, to place evidence over pride, to see the unfairness of racial discrimination, and to know why it is a sin, to kill a mockingbird.  

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Sukanya Venkataraman


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