Thursday, July 14, 2011

Favorite Things: To Kill a Mockingbird

Monday was the 51st anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird being published.  IMHO, Mockingbird is one of, if not the, greatest American novels. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain can make a really good claim for that title, but that is for a different day.
To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most well-read book on my shelves. Every now and then I will slip it in my bag and just carry it around for a while, carefully fingering dog eared pages and reading favorite passages softly aloud  If I am ever blessed to have a daughter, she will be named Scout (so let it be known), and at least for a little while, when she is too young to rebel, I will dress her in overalls.  

The story found in those pages is remarkable and full. I love books that aren’t afraid to touch upon unkind things. The world and history and our lives can be more than unkind at times and in the written word we seek to find a connection, something to hold on to.  But Harper Lee, and the characters she created don’t leave us wallowing around in the injustices and hate in the world. Good and evil will probably always coexist.  We roam our little pieces of earth daily trying to balance out the good and bad in the world and within ourselves.    Some people allow evil, injustice and ignorance to destroy them, but others, like our little Scout and her wise pops Atticus, have enough courage and faith in humanity to overcome a lot of the harshness of life and living.  
Favorite quotes:
They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience. 
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 you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.
Favorite scene from the amazing movie, which makes me cry every time: Scout defuses a lynch mob:

I wish people will stop speculating that the Beckhams named their new daughter Harper, after Harper Lee. Please, like Mr. and Mrs. Posh Spice even read.

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