"To Kill a Mockingbird (Read it now before GO SET A WATCHMAN ) (Pulitzer Prize)" Atticus Finch lives in the fictional town of Maycomb in Alabama and as it is with the Deep South, the southern traditions of relations in race and gender are at the center of this masterpiece. His daughter, Scout is the narrator of the story and she lives with her widowed father and brother. To Kill A Mockingbird first explores the customs of the South, laying down all the quirks and foibles of the neighbors and people that Scout interacts with through her childhood days.
The story of how her brother Jem injured his arm at the elbow is what starts off Scott’s reminiscing journey. This leads them to point out that it was the Ewells who set off the entire string of events that brought about the unsavory incident. And this is what is at the heart of the novel. The narrative that is so delicately handled by Lee is insightful and intuitive.
Atticus is appointed by the court to defend a black man, Tom Robinson who has been accused of raping a white girl, Mayella. However the town doesn’t need a trial since they are steeped in prejudice against the coloured people and to them, Robinson is guilty of the crime.
However, Atticus defends Tom to the best of his ability that turns the residents of this otherwise sleepy town against him and his family members. For the most part, the townspeople engage in hurling insults at the middle-aged man, which is unacceptable to the sprightly Scout. She along with her brother and their friend, Dill manage to disperse the mob of people but the situation grows worse.
Will Tom Robinson serve time for a crime he did not commit and will Scout lose her love for the South as she had before? A poignantly simple tale of losing innocence and more to the law of society, To Kill a Mockingbird does more than just enlighten people.
Published in 1960, it won the Pulitzer Prize and became an indispensable part of American literature. It is the most widely read book dealing with the theme of race relations and has been adjudged as the “Best Novel of the 20th Century” by the Library Journal. The book was adapted into a film which won an Oscar award in 1962.