What sets literature apart from other forms of art is its capacity to endure and remain relevant across time. Happer Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is an exceptional book which highlights the timelessness of literature. Written at a time when American society was grappling with such issues as racism and economic turmoil, this book is undisputedly more relevant today than ever before. For an individual looking for fresh and inspired insights into the glaring inequalities in America, it is difficult to recommend to find a book that is more engaging that Lee’s.
Lee could not have found a better character to highlight the inequalities that have plagued American society for decades. He dissects these inequalities through the eyes of Jean Finch, a six year old girl living in Alabama during the Great Depression. Finch witnesses the hardships that her neighbors endure but Lee gives special focus to the experiences of African Americans. In addition to being deprived, black Americans are part of a society that frustrates their efforts to achieve liberty.
As noted above, Lee describes the experiences of black Americans from the perspective of Jean. The choice of Jean must have been deliberate. Through Jean’s eyes, Lee allows readers to recognize that inequalities in the US are so glaring that even a young girl can detect them. Essentially, Lee set out to show that inequalities are a central part of the American nation. It is embarrassing that decades after the publication of the book, the injustices that it explores remain prevalent in the US.
While Lee relies mostly on Jean’s perspective, he uses other characters as well to convey the damage that the US suffers when it allows inequalities to fester. Among these characters is Atticus Finch, Jean’s father. A struggling attorney who mostly represents the poor, Atticus is a manifestation of the elusiveness of the American dream. Despite their best efforts, many Americans continue to wallow in poverty with the American Dream becoming increasingly difficult to attain. Lee’s book should awaken the US to the failings of its system.
In addition to shedding light on economic disparities, To Kill a Mockingbird also paints the American criminal justice system is broken, unjust and in need of urgent reforms. For instance, Lee highlights how a jury convicts a black man accused of raping a white woman. The conviction happened despite the absence of compelling evidence and the strong defense Atticus accorded the white man. What is clear from Lee’s book is that being a poor person of color condemns Americans to a miserable existence defined by hardship and injustice.
While reading To Kill a Mockingbird, individuals will not miss the striking parallels between the events in the book and the reality of American society today. Violence and the role that it plays in the freedom movement are among the components of American society that the book explores. Violence is indeed a central theme that Lee uses to show that while it may be ugly and cost human lives, violence is often a necessary tool used by those eager and desperate for freedom. This book expands readers’ perspective, allowing them to recognize the necessity of militancy, extremism and violence in the quest for liberty.
To be complete, any review of To Kill a Mockingbird must include a discussion the power of individual action. The book tells the stories of such courageous characters as Atticus who strive to improve their communities even when they know full well that their efforts will be futile. For example, he represents black men even when he knows that they will be convicted. Americans should draw inspiration from Atticus. Even when they understand that their actions will have little impact, they should endeavor to create a more just and fair society.
If he were to examine American society today, Lee would be disappointed and frustrated. The purpose of his book was to confront the society and challenge it to rethink how it treats its most vulnerable members like children and people of color. There is no question that he would castigate and lambast the nation for its failure to secure the wellbeing of children. Today, millions of American children face hunger, hopelessness and extreme poverty. It is unacceptable the world’s most powerful nation cannot protect all its citizens.
It is the case that Lee’s book focuses mostly on the problems that afflict American society. However, he also provides solutions that the country can implement to rid itself of the many challenges that it faces. Adopting the mindset and perspective of a child is one of these solutions. Through the character of Jean, Lee basically suggests that for the US to become more equal, Americans should see beyond race, sexuality, gender and ethnicity. Instead, just as Jean does, they should see all individuals as humans simply trying to accomplish personal dreams.
In closing, it is not surprising that To Kill a Mockingbird has formed part of the American educational curriculum for years. Its inclusion in the curriculum is clearly intended to create a movement that delivers change. Sadly, this movement is yet to be realized. Inequality remains rampant in the country. If American society truly wishes to honor Lee, it should adopt the proposals that it presents. Readers can help the nation to reform by engaging with the book and drawing lessons that they proceed to implement in their personal affairs.