To Kill a Mockingbird

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An Examination of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird According to Mortimer Adler’s Criteria

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee took place in the segregated southern United States of the 1930’s during the time of the Civil Rights. Throughout her novel, Lee displayed racism through the standpoint of Scout Finch. I want to pick apart her novel and explain to you what makes a book “great” according to Mortimer Adler. Does the book stand the test of time, does it have universality, does it show the power of the written word, is it enlightening, is it honest, does it deal with unsolved problems of human life, is it inexhaustible, and last but not least, does it leave you the same as when it found you? To Kill a Mockingbird was officially published in 1960. The book became a sensation in 1961, winning the Pulitzer Prize and selling over fifteen million copies. Though the book is only 52 years old, I believe that it will stand the test of time even though it is said that the novel has to be a hundred years old to do so. I was asked to read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school and now again in college. Lee has written a book that is treasured by millions of readers worldwide and will be in the hearts of millions in the next 48 years to come. I truly believe that my children and their children will be reading this book and enjoying it just like I have done so. Many great books have the ability to transcend time and place. What was true today was true yesterday, and will be true tomorrow. One of the main themes Lee’s novel possesses is the affirmation that human goodness can withstand the assault of evil. The book explores whether a human being is essentially good or essentially bad. When kids are young, they believe that everyone is in essence all good. All of their stories growing up have those ‘happy endings’ and everything quintessentially is good. But once Scout and Jem started to grow up and realize that there is evil in the world, they took that along...
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