Let me start off by saying that Harper Lee is a magnificent woman with a wonderful way of words and a good head on her shoulders that tells her just how to use them. It has been my absolute pleasure to finally delve into her magical work and encounter her pursuits of getting through to people and making the world a better place. If there is anything that I have learned through repeated experiences throughout my lifetime, it is that literature and stories have a way of pushing through the countless hard skulls and tough hearts of all humanity. For me, it is such a delight to go back to the classics and experience for myself what the beauty of words is really all about. Not because it is an assignment, or because we want a passing grade, or we’re trying not to get on our English teacher’s bad side… We have to want to do it in order to be able to look past the veil of our unwillingness and disdain. But, perhaps we should consider that the word-lovers and bookworms around us who push us to these endless, arduous tasks simply want us to see the beauty that it is just as much as they do.
To Kill A Mockingbird.
What an evil. What a sin. To kill a mockingbird is simply the utmost act of wickedness one could ever commit. Why would it be such a horrible thing if it is just a bird? People kill birds all the time. Because mockingbirds never did anything to anybody. Except it isn’t only that. All they ever do is give to everybody. They sing and provide the most beautiful music known to man and they do this every single day of their lives. And it is all they do.
To Kill A Black Man.
Oh, he had it coming.
“The nigger always comes out of ’em.”
What an evil. What a sin. To kill a black man simply because he is black and that makes him guilty- and if he isn’t guilty then he had it coming anyway and he should have known that- that is the utmost act of wickedness. All they do is give. Work hard and give, and sing while they are at it. People throw rocks at them, but they just keep on singing. Except they can’t fly away. And people do mock them for sure.
Harper Lee had to have created the most meaningful and eye-opening metaphor in the whole existence of literature. It’s right there in the title.
These days, the beauty of the mockingbird is much more well-known and more of us see it. But it’s also harder to tell that those who want to kill them still exist. Amidst our fights and protests and standing up for the rights that we most certainly deserve, we are blind to the very basic lesson that can be found in this seemingly outdated book. The lesson that has yet to be learned because commotion does not teach lessons and it does not solve problems. Want to create a problem? Stir up a commotion. It will get so big before you know it, you won’t be able to control it. And the reason behind it? Well, you won’t remember it and neither will anyone else. Desperate to create unity, we get into groups and we say we fight for the same cause and we get all riled up and the adrenaline rushes through us and we call this motivation. Only we fail to see that we are each individually on our own because no one knows what he is fighting for anymore and all we care about is achieving more for ourselves and this has reduced us to lifeless, mechanical bodies who only chant what we have memorized and gotten stuck in our heads, devoid of meaning and purpose.
“Naw, Jem, I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”
In the words of young Miss Jean Louise Finch (or Scout, as she would have preferred), it is as simple as that. Folks are folks. People are people. We all have different views and opinions. Yes, some of us are right, but some of us are also wrong. But we are all still people. And with that simple mindset, perhaps we can all quiet down long enough to stop the commotion and hear the beautiful music again. Have a listen for yourself.