My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Re-Reading a Classic: To Kill a Mockingbird

In anticipation of the July 14th release of Harper Lee’s book Go Set a Watchman, I decided to re-read her classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.  I must have read this book at least three other times in my life, first as an 8th grader, and each time I have gleaned something new from the experience.  
The story tells the tale of a sensational trial of an African-american man accused of raping a white woman in a small southern town in Alabama around 1935, and is told through the eyes of a scrappy little white girl named Scout.  
At times, it was jarring to read the N-word being tossed around so casually, and yet, in 1935 that word was used liberally in the South.  This time, I was also struck by the bleakness of Mayella’s existence.  She was the oldest of seven children with no mother, a drunken, violent father, and dirt poor.  This time I caught one line that also hinted that she was being sexually abused by the father, as well ( I didn't catch that in 8th grade).  While what she did was inexcusable, by walking in her shoes, I could imagine what a difficult life she must have had.
Scout also struggled with the overwhelming sexism that was prevalent at the time. She was constantly being told how she should act, dress, and think. Throughout the book, she fought being boxed in by these stereotypes, but one could see as she grew up, it would become more difficult for her to go against the tide.
At first it seems like a story from so long ago would be difficult for the modern reader to relate to.  However, given the current news stories of police brutality and shootings of young African-american men, the racism and injustice shown in the book are as relevant today as fifty-five years ago when the book was written.

I was particularly moved by the children (Scout, Jem, and Dill) being guided by Atticus (Scout and Jem’s father) to walk in another’s shoes.  Using this teaching, it was easy for them to see how incredibly cruel and unfair the african-americans in the story were being treated.  If only there had been more Atticus's in the world, how different life would be.
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2018 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 5 books toward her goal of 120 books.


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