This story takes place in the Deep South of the United States in the 1930s when racial inequality was still a major issue. It exemplifies the problems faced in the southern states after the Civil War but it shows these problems through the eyes of a child.
The United States is in the middle of the Great Depression and the sleepy little town of Maycomb, Alabama is struggling to get by. The story focuses around Jean-Louise “Scout” Finch and her brother Jem. They live down the street from the Radley house and it becomes a game, to get the reclusive “Boo” Radley to come out of his house. But their fantasy world falls apart as they grow older and their father, Atticus Finch, is assigned to defend a negro man accused of raping a white woman. Jem and Scout are forced to learn the hard way how people view the African American race in the south. Things are no longer as black and white as they once thought they were.
Everyone always would poke fun at the fact that I never actually read this book in high school. I managed to get by with just skimming it and paying attention to what everyone else said. At the same time, everyone would tell me how much I was missing out because of how amazing of a book it is. I would tend to disagree. Yes, I thought it was a good book. It’s very enlightening and is something people should read. No, I don’t think it’s an amazing book. It’s an accurate portrayal of the southern culture of the United States but it made me ashamed that things like this every occurred. It is an important piece of American literature but I can’t say it is one of the greatest books I’ve ever read.
I don’t judge a books greatness on its accuracy and historical importance. I judge books on how they make me feel. This book made me proud to be from the north, a place where the African American population was treated with more respect as dignity than anywhere in the United States. It made me feel ashamed that things like this happened in this country, no matter how long ago it was. It made me angry, that people could be so ignorant and self righteous that they would condemn an innocent man just because of the color of his skin. It made me weary because of how uneducated people were in that time. It left me feeling tired, tired of a lot of things from the past. I didn’t feel inspired or uplifted or more educated when I finished reading this book. Maybe that’s because I knew too much going into it.