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Stories with dark plots are amazing!
But you know what is even better?
Stories with both dark plots and moral messages!
Still, since these are opposite aspects, there aren’t many novels successfully reflect both. And the number of readable, high-quality ones among them are so scarce that you can easily count them by hands.
To Kill a Mocking Bird happens to be in this little group.
The book set in the Great Depression back in the 1930s, and everything is told through the perspective of Scout – a 6-year-old little girl. As you know, back in those days, discrimination was like a pandemic. It infected almost everyone, making them think ill of anyone who wasn’t acting or thinking the same way as they did.
Pretty much the entire story focuses on this detail. For example, there’s a strange man living in Scout’s neighborhood. He never does anything wrong, but he never socializes and keeps on locking himself in his house.
This makes him an alien to many children. They start spreading rumors about him, and even figuring ways to draw him away from his home, some are just mindless pranks, some, however, are not.
But the real climax revolves around a case, a terrible one. Tom, an African-American man in their area is accused of raping a girl, and Scout’s father is appointed to represent him in court. And this is where things start going downhill.
Since the entire town doesn’t believe in Tom’s innocence and hope he rots in Hell for the rest of his life, life starts getting harsh for Scout’s family. They didn’t do anything wrong, of course, but they defend a person who is unforgivable to everyone. And to the neighborhood, this’s enough to be called a crime.
I must say, To Kill a Mocking Bird has been built quite well. The situations all connect to each other one way or another, and there’s no redundant detail throughout the book.
What’s more, the characters’ feelings as they go through prejudice are also brilliantly captured. You might not see it when you flip through the pages, but when you have already reached the end, you’ll see that Scout has already matured a lot. The hardship befell her family has taught her to fathom all sides of life, and to understand that people are not always what they appear to be.
By the time I finished the book, all I managed to let out was just a “Whoa” above a whisper, nothing more, nothing less.
The characters in the book – Scout, her father, the mysterious man, Tom, and many others – are so well crafted that they seem like real people to me, not just mere fictional characters. Each has their own thoughts, their own ways to look at life, and their own perspective of the world surrounding them. But all will make you stop for a while and think.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover”- never have this seemed so right to me up until now.
Overall, To Kill a Mocking Bird is a brilliant, somewhat melancholy, yet so value-packed book. And I’m definitely going to read it again!