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I READ "TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD" IN 1964. YOU?

 
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2010 11:11 am
@Joe Nation,
Joe: as always, I value your comments highly. This particular one has a uniquely literary quality that excels. The fact that you contributed a period-vintage photo adds to that authenticity.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2010 02:16 am
@farmerman,
I was a little bit older than you, farmer, when first I read To Kill a Mockingbird. I recall reading it very quickly, it took me no time at all to get through it. (But then I was something of a bookworm. Reading was my favourite form of escape, all through my childhood. My mother told me I'd most likely ruin my eyesight if I didn't ease off!)

My reactions to Mockingbird at the time? It seemed rather exotic, another country altogether to the one I was familiar with (which of course it was), with people talking in very differently ways to each other, with quite different notions of family, different concerns than those I was familiar with ... (and, of course, Atticus was my hero for a while. )
It wasn't until a few years later that I became fully aware of the issue of racism. The truly terrible treatment of the aboriginal people of my own (adopted) country, right under our very own noses. In retrospect, I'd say reading Mockingbird was probably one of my first steps on the journey to understanding the nature of injustice, what some people have been forced to endure as their lot in life.

May I ask you what your sister had to say about Scout's world view?
roger
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2010 02:23 am
@Shapeless,
Well yes, it's kind of like complaining that Shakespeare's writing was filled with cliches.
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 09:43 am
@msolga,
Hi all, Ive been neglectful in my duties as host. Ive been fishing and the smallies were biting and , well, what could I do but ansqwer the call?

My sister was the first personI knew that fit the word feminist. She was renouncing the "happy houasewife" role and had gone through boyfriends like a paper shredder. HAd she lived Im sure she wouldve been a hippy at Berkely and been an actvist in just about anything.

I was never certain about her sincerity thougfh cause she was accomplished at the "domestic art of cooking".

She saw scout in a light of her own upbringing and reentment of my fathers use of racial sterrotyping in his battallion (he was still in the service when I was born and my sister was about 5 years older than me, I think.) She was always catching hell for her outspokenness against the "badness she saw". I hoped that I was more positively affected by her than by my dad.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 09:50 am
@Ragman,
Ive heard the story about CApote and , my havbits of reading are always to speak the dialogue in my mind because I like to mimic accents and dialects. When I read Capotes work, I dont read it in his stilted fay voice. I read it like a southerner who is interested in the scenes. Thuis Capotes comes across like an early LArry Mcmurtry in "Cold Blood'. Harper Lee, on the other hand always reminded me of WELmore LEaonards style with dialogue painting the scene. Two kinds of writing and easily distinguisheable. I think its just a convenient article angle.

AS far as the Wall STreet Journals take, its always been a way to get some hamburger helpwer in thwir poaper . I think Mwerdoch oughta just carry a comics section and be done with it.
I recall qwhen it was very popular to cricize and downgrade as "High school Classics" , the woerk of Steinbeck, and to criticize as "lowbrow" , the paintings of Norman Rockwell. All things change and come about the compass rows,
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 09:58 am
@roger,
Quote:
Well yes, it's kind of like complaining that Shakespeare's writing was filled with cliches.


I imagine the author of the review would counter that Shakespeare invented most of those clich├ęs whereas Harper Lee was not the first to denounce lynching.

The review got me thinking about which junior high or high school books that tackle racism would actually meet the reviewer's criteria for "great book," which seem to be that it have a noble message but not be too simplistic. Richard Wright's Black Boy? Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man? Undoubtedly I'm biased but I think the advantage that Mockingbird has over these is exactly that it is more easily digestible and therefore made a bigger impact on me than these other books when I read them (though admittedly I read Mockingbird in 8th grade whereas I read Black Boy and Invisible Man in 10th and 11th).
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 10:01 am
@farmerman,
My sister had to talk me into reading the book. I didn't want to do so because of the "lynching" thing. She insisted, so I read it. (don't have any idea when, however). I'm like soccer George. I read it again with my son and we discussed it at its implications. I think it was Jem who Atticus made go help the old lady whose flowers he had destroyed. He did so by reading to her as she was withdrawing from opium (morphine) not sure which. I'm doing this from memory, so feel free to correct me.

The movie won best screen adaptation of the book. I burst into tears when the Robinson guy said that he felt sorry for the white lady when she came on to him. That is why the jury convicted the man.

I do recall that Bo Radley was the real mockingbird, and the sheriff did not charge him.

Incidentally, Truman Capote EDITED the book for Harper Lee
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 10:05 am
@Shapeless,
I loved Native Son by Richard Wright. I read that in either junior high or highschool - on my own. It deeply affected me, and actually Richard Wright is one of my favorite authors.
It might be a little too controversial to do in school though.
Quote:
Native Son (1940) is a novel by American author Richard Wright. The novel tells the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas, an African American living in utter poverty. Bigger lived in Chicago's South Side ghetto in the 1930s. Bigger was always getting into trouble as a youth, but upon receiving a job at the home of the Daltons, a rich, white family, he experienced a realization of his identity. He thinks he accidentally killed a white woman, runs from the police, rapes and kills his girlfriend and is then caught and tried. "I didn't want to kill", Bigger shouted. "But what I killed for, I am! It must've been pretty deep in me to make me kill."

Wright gets inside the head of "brute Negro" Bigger, revealing his feelings, thoughts and point of view as he commits crimes and is confronted with racism, violence and debasement. The novel's treatment of Bigger and his motivations conforms to the conventions of literary naturalism.

While not apologizing for Bigger's crimes, Wright is sympathetic to the systemic inevitability behind them. The novel is a powerful statement about racial inequality and social injustices so deep that it becomes nearly impossible to determine where societal expectations/conditioning end and free will begins
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 10:46 am
I think that we had to read at school in 'English' around 1966/7.

It was part of my examination (in 'German') in 1969.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2010 11:05 am
@aidan,
Yes Native Son very significant book. funny how the focus on a book brings to mind others and their meanings in our lives. I am brought to mind of Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2010 02:53 am
@farmerman,
Ah, I can see why this particular book made such a big impression on you, farmer.
I wish your sister had had the opportunity to grow older than she was when she died, and that she'd become the Berkley activist you predicted she might become.
And I also wish that had she'd had the chance to go through all the changes we've all gone through. She might even have made peace with her father, eventually.
But it certainly sounds like you learned a lot from her thoughts about this book, no matter how young she was, no matter how young you were at the time ....
Good for her, for standing up for what she believed in! She was on the right track.


farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2010 04:44 am
@msolga,
I guess the point of my recollection is that I think I masde the reading of this book a benchmark event for me. Just like my reqding of Roy Chapman ANdrews and all of Steinbeck. I seemed to recall what I was doing and where I was at the time.
Theres very few events I can recall the exact circumstances of their occurence. This was one.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Mon 26 Jul, 2010 12:56 pm
@Letty,
Quote:
Incidentally, Truman Capote EDITED the book for Harper Lee


Thanks! That's the info for which I was looking,
0 Replies
 
 

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