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100 Banned Books Series: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

on June 2, 2013

to kill a mockingbird   100 Banned Books Series: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


What is it about?

To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of Scout Finch, an eight-year old white girl who lives with her older brother Jem and their father Atticus, an esteemed lawyer in the town.  She and Jem, along with her other friend Dill, become very fascinated with their reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley.  The third of the book is about Scout as she grows up and learns more about life and the small town she lives in, as she, Jem, and Dill try to lure Boo Radley out of his home.

About a third way through the book, Scout learns that Atticus has been assigned to defend Tom Robinson, a respectable black man, against a rape accusation from Bob Ewell, an extremely poor man of ill repute who claims that Tom raped his oldest daughter Mayella, despite evidence to the contrary.

What makes this book so unique and well-regarded is that the heavy themes of racism, rape, and classicism are told through the eyes of a young child.  It’s also interesting to see Scout interact with the adults in her town: my favorite moment is when Scout is forced to go to a ladies social hosted by her Aunt Alexandria, and one of her neighbors, Miss Maudie, quickly tells off one of the other ladies for claiming that black people couldn’t be educated.  Also, a major theme of the book is the class system of the town, in which everyone looks down at the group of people a step lower than they are, with the black community at the bottom.

Why is it controversial?

While the frank writing style and young protagonist is what makes this point so special and well-renowned, it is also what has caused it to go under controversy.  Many parents really did not like the idea of an 8-year-old being the protagonist of a book with themes such as rape, implied incest, and full-out racism, and they especially didn’t like their high school children reading it.  Also, there is some harsh language in the book, including the use of the “N” word, which was deemed inappropriate for high school students.  Depending on who ask, this is either one of the best books American literature has to offer, or one of the most depraved.

My thoughts?

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time, and in my opinion, it is one of the best books American Literature has to offer.  This is a book EVERYONE needs to read. It’s beautiful, gripping, and all around amazing.


There is an acclaimed movie adaptation of the book that is now considered a classic, mostly because they found a really good actor to play Atticus.  While it’s no substitute for the movie, it is still worth watching.


Rating: 9 out of 10.


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