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To Kill a Mocking Bird Critique

By sinyster Jun 23, 2005 861 Words
To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel that has received great acclaim, largely due to setting, themes, and accuracy. The setting, themes, and accuracy of the novel seem to fall into place in a great order, which makes this novel receive great acclaim. To Kill a Mockingbird is set in a small town in "fictional" Maycomb County, Alabama 1933-35. "It was more of collection of short stories than a true novel…yet, there was also life" (Commire, 18). The Characters of To Kill a Mockingbird we also created from people in Lee's life. For example, she used here father, Frances "Finch" Lee, as a model for Atticus Finch. "To Kill a Mockingbird, Is a novel of strong contemporary national significance…Miss Lee considers the novel a love story" (Commire, 155). The novel could be considered a love story because it shows the love of a father toward his two children. Apparently, Lee chose the mockingbird to represent the "purity of heart, and selflessness of characters like Atticus Finch, Tom Robinson, and Boo Radley (Moss and Wilson, 395). To Kill a Mockingbird underscores many themes and represents a universal story from a regional perspective (Stabler). The overall argument involves the obvious plea for justice while mocking the civilization of Southern society. To Kill a Mockingbird is considered a "classic", it was a bestseller, and it is required reading for many High School's in the U.S. (Stabler). Even today in bookstores, like Barnes & Noble, it is easy to find a copy of the book on the shelves. It is even showcased on the bags of Barnes & Noble. It is felt that To Kill a Mockingbird gives "an accurate reflection" of life in the south during the 1930s (Stabler). There was much racism in the south during the 1930s. Edgar Shuster states, " In the course of their growing up, the children do a great deal of learning, but little of that learning takes place in school," (Bernard). It goes to show, that not all life lessons can be learned in school. Shuster also states, "The achievement of Harper Lee is not that she has written another novel about race prejudice, but rather that she has placed race prejudice in a perspective which allows ups to see it as an aspect of a larger thing (Bernard). Like something that comes from fear and lack of knowledge. Keith Waterhouse believes that "Miss Lee does well what so many American writers do appallingly: she paints a true and lively picture of life in and an American small town, and she gives freshness to a stock solution" (Kinsman, 481). Many authors cannot do that. Lee however did really well since her book became a bestseller. Richard Sullivan states "Gradually the novel unfolds and reveals not only a sharp look at a number of people but a view of the American South and its attributes, feelings, and traditions"(Bryfonski and Senick, 340). The novel shows how, although Tom Robinson was obviously not guilty of raping Mayella, he still was convicted, though he had a chance of an appeal. To Kill a Mockingbird is "told with a rare blend of with and compassion, it moves ‘unconcernedly' an irresistibly back and forth between being sentimental, tough, melodramatic, and funny (Kinsman, 481). The book has is funny moments and sentimental moments, like a touching moment between Scout and her father, Atticus. Frank H. Lyellsentisism says, "The events connecting the Finches with the Ewell-Robinson lawsuit develop quietly and logically" (Bryfonski and Senick, 340). The many short stories Lee made actually work out together in one novel. Critics agree that To Kill a Mockingbird "is a literary success" (Byfonski and Senick, 340). Her works are compared to those of Mark Twain. Booklist also states, To Kill a Mockingbird is "told with a ‘rare blend of wit and compassion'" (Commire, 155) To Kill a Mockingbird has received many awards. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Lee to the National Council of the Arts (Bernard, 22). It was a top bestseller; in 2003, USA Today listed To Kill a Mockingbird as one of the top 150 best-selling books of the year (Bernard, 38). It is a story so admirably done that it must be called both honorable and original" (Kinsmans, 481) To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel that has received many awards and critiques, good and not-so-good. It changed views for many people and created new perspectives for others. Its setting, themes, and accuracy work very well together. It received great acclaim, and is used in many high schools as standard reading.


Bernard, Catherine. Understanding To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Lucent Books, 2003. Commire, Anne. Something About the Author. Detroit: Gale Research, 1977. George Wilson, Joyce Mors. "To Kill a Mockingbird." Literature and Its Times. New York: Gale, 1997. Gerard J. Senick, Dedria Bryfonski. "(Nelle) Harper Lee." Contemporary Literary. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1980. Kibler, James. American Novelists: Novelist Since World War II. Detroit: Bruccol; Clark, 1980. Kinsman, Claire. Contemporary Authors. Detroit: Gale Research, 1965. Stabler, Scott. "To Kill A Mockingbird." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. St. James Press, 2000. 13 Aug. 2005 .

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