I finished the number 99 book on my list, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I really enjoyed this book and loved the writing style. It's a thought provoking book and it challenged me to examine my life and see if there are prejudices within me that I have been blind to.
This book also had a lot of great quotes. I thought it would be fun to write out the quotes and make a couple comments on them.
1) Atticus was feeble; he was nearly fifty. I loved this! Once again, being fifty, or nearly fifty, makes an appearance in my reading. In the eyes of his children, Atticus was old and frail. We may feel like life begins at 50, but our kids probably don't see it that way! I hope that like Atticus I can show my children what true strength really is.
2) There's a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep them all away from you. That's never possible. Atticus was wise. He loved his children and wanted to do the best he could for them, as we do, but we can't always protect our children from everything. They are going to see the ugly sides of this world eventually.
3) I think there's just one kind of folks, folks. People are people; whether they be white or black, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, male or female. One group of people isn't better than another because they are smarter or richer or because they are white instead of black, or black instead of white. We are all created by God, in his image. We are all just folks.
4) 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. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through, no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. It can be difficult as a parent to impress upon our children the morals and values that we want them to have. We want to make the way for our children as easy and smooth as possible, but sometimes that isn't best for them. Sometimes they need to see the bad things in life, like hatred, racism, and ignorance to be able to see the good things, like courage, integrity and honour.
5) You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. The meaning of this quote is very obvious, yet it is worth considering. When we are judging someone, as we all do, all the time, we should stop ourselves, and "climb into their skin and walk around in it" for a minute. Try to see the world through their eyes. We need to remember that not everyone has the same background we do. Not everyone has received the same benefits we have or had the same experiences. I think that's why we talk about justice being blind and why lady justice wears a blindfold. True justice does not discriminate based on wealth or race. It is blind to all but the truth.
Racism is a major theme in this book. The dictionary describes racism as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior. Although racism and discrimination definitely still exist, I am thankful for the strides that have been made towards the realization that we are all just folks. Each generation seems to be getting smarter in this regard and I hope that my future great grandchildren may never see racism in their lives at all.
This novel, To Kill a Mockingbird has been on the junior high school reading lists for years and I can see why. At a time in life when people are coming into their own, they need to contemplate their ideals and think about what is right and wrong. This book will help them do that.
I would highly recommend that everyone add this book to their reading list. It won't take you that long to read but it will probably stay with you for a while.