To kill a mockingbird. To lose one’s innocence and never revert back. A childhood gone, a dream forgotten, a memory buried. When my grandfather first handed me this book, all I could think was that it had a rather ugly cover. I was at an age where I judged books by their covers and this book did not stand a chance! It wasn’t until I was well past my teenage years that I revisited my book collection and saw this book collecting dust. Naturally curious with its title, I began the journey of seeing things from a seven year old girl, Scout. She sees things as they are, through her unprejudiced mind, and influenced by a moralistic father and idealistic older brother. Set in the 1930s in a small county named Maycomb, Alabama, the book deals with issues such as racism, justice, courage and education as was during those days and as is in the mind of young Scout.
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.
We are stuck in a phase where we pre judge what is masculine and what isn’t. When a man refuses to pick up a fight, and instead tries to show sensitivity, we brand him as being less of a man. Sometimes when a woman cries victim, she is wrong. And sometimes it is the man who is refused justice. When Atticus, the protagonist’s father refuses to shoot the mad dog his refusal is described as sensitivity. But when in real life have we showed this kind of mercy to men? When young Scout is looked down upon for refusing to wear dresses and play with dolls, how is her reality any different from ours today? Weren’t we tch-tched at by our grand mamas when we got into a fist fight or when we came home with mud smeared on our pretty faces? Things have changed, yes. For the better, no.
The beautiful thing about reading old books, is realizing all your struggles aren’t a you thing but a human thing. When I count the number of times people have wondered about my dark skin, and the number of times I have lost my mind to that thought, I would be counting all night. But if I were to count the number of atrocities that people have faced due to racism, I would fall short of even a lifetime of counting. Coloured people !! Colour decided your profession, colour decided your personality, colour decided where you lived and colour decided your offence. Even justice was not spared from this discrimination. But are things so different from what they were back then? Disguised, yes. Absent, certainly not.
This beautiful book brings to light everything that was, and continues to stay wrong, in our society. And it is through books that one must change and it is through this one love for reading that we must learn to love every human, regardless of the things that make us so different.
Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.