The novel “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee is an outstanding piece of literature, raising a number of serious issues. The tension it creates amid the audience and the weighty themes it observes can be applied to the present day. Similarly, the social issues it focuses on such as social inequality, derogatory attitude to the poor people, civil rights abuse, bias in the human relations, discrimination and injustice make it a masterpiece of literature that is popular nowadays.
In the book, are described the adventures of the two children and their friends during the summertime. The events that take place in the kids’ life surpass the limits of the book of adventure to leave the audience with an unpleasant reality of social injustice, economic factors, and political occurrences that were present in any town of America during the years of the Great Depression. In order to provide an unbiased view, the author has narrated the story through the character of a child. Children are known for their innocence and unbiased attitude to the situations they face. The technique that Lee is using enables the social setting and norms of those days to be explored in an unprejudiced way.
The period described in the novel was beleaguered by social injustices, racial discrimination, and the subjugation of the black people’s rights. The events described in the novel took place in the southern part of the United States. This territory was especially disreputable for racial discrimination of all other regions in the United States. The events described in the current book take place in a small densely-populated town of Maycomb, Alabama. The author brings his readers to the times when prejudice and racial hatred were a common concern. Lee’s choice of the setting and the characters in the story highlight the injustice existing in the U. S. society in the 1930s.
The writer described the town of Maycomb as being very poor and run down (Lee 12). In this town, people know each other well, since they meet on the daily basis when they perform their daily routines. The blacks and whites are divided on the basis of their race and social background. Even some of the white people are made outcasts because of their lean purse. Cunningham, for example, is portrayed as being a poor white worker, whose children go to school very rarely because they have to provide for themselves and the family.
The main characters in the novel are Scout Atticus and Jem Finch. They are persecuted because Atticus is defending a black man, who is accused of raping a white woman. Atticus uses this opportunity to teach Scout and Jem ethical and moral norms that people teach their children today. Atticus gives Scout and Jem a lesson not to be judgmental towards anyone and be courageous to stand up for what is right. He also explains that violence does not solve problems but only makes them more complicated. Showing the true significance of what it means to kill a mockingbird, Atticus demonstrates to Jem and Scout the essence of being humane.
The main conflict in the book takes place when during his work as a lawyer when Atticus happens to defend a black man. As the conflict develops, Harper Lee is demonstrating the social tensions which eventually take the people of the town. The hidden racism in the society, which had not yet recognized the sons of former slaves as free and equal to them, defines the relationships in the community and changes the world vision of Scout and her brother.
The book served as the story plot for numerous films, which became very successful among viewers in many countries. For instance, one of its adaptations, starring brilliant Gregory Peck in the role of Atticus managed to win three Academy Awards. The film was shot in 1962 but it still occupies its due place among the films of American classics and is believed to be one of the greatest films ever made by numerous critics around the globe. However, such triumph of the film adaptations of the book does not diminish its value as a literary piece, since most readers and viewers admit that Lee’s work as a brilliant writer overwhelms all the achievements of scenarists and film directors.
Although the novel has had a generally positive impact on race relations from the standpoint of white readers, readers of other races state that it is ambiguous when it addresses the themes of interracial relationships and is even demoralizing at times. Most readers agree that the book describes the racial conflict from the perspective of a white person. Since there is too much material on the characters of African-American origin, a reader fails to meet them in a more personal way. This results into the distorted perception of the black people’s identity, including their values and vision of the world.
In conclusion, while “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee has its main focus on racial discrimination and the interracial conflict, this is not the only theme of the novel. The book teaches its readers to be courageous when they face the necessity to defend what is right and just. In addition, this novel shows that violence is not an option for solving conflicts because aggression does not lead to accomplishment when dealing with interracial relations. Another significant feature of the novel is its eulogism of real human values, including friendship, loyalty, reputation, justice, and impartiality over materialism, bias, and hypocrisy.