To Kill a Mockingbirdby Harper Lee
Original publication date: 1960
This week is banned books week in the United States. All week I will be highlighting banned, challenged, and censored books I own and have read.
Lawyer Atticus Finch defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic, Puliter Prize-winning novel–a black man charged with the rape of a white woman. Through the eyes of Atticus’s children, Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unanswering honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930’s.
Status: Challenged and occasionally temporarily banned at libraries and high schools around the country (citation).
Reason for challenge in the U.S.: Wow, people really went to town on this one: vulgar language (because of the words ‘whore lady’), representing institutional racism (I don’t get it, did they deny this exists/existed? Do they think TKAMB promotes institutional racism??), use of the word n*gg*r, racial themes, conflicting with the values of the community (get me out of that community!), profanity, racial slurs, being degrading to African Americans (citation).
My thoughts: It drives me crazy that a depiction of racism is challenged for racial themes. READ THE BOOK, PEOPLE! Clearly Atticus is dissatisfied with the status of race relations in his community, he is working to make a change. It wouldn’t be dramatic that he is fighting racism if Lee didn’t include a realistic description of racism. Like “The Grapes of Wrath,” this is one of my favorite books of all time (.doc), and one I re-read frequently.
Your Turn: Have you read “To Kill a Mockingbird”? What do you think? Does it accurately depict race relations in the South at the time of writing, or is it a racist novel?
Check out my Banned Books Week Spotlights all week, every day at 2 pm Central through Saturday, Octobter 4th.
Rebecca of The Book Lady’s Blog is doing Banned Books Week Spotlights as well, every morning at 9 am. Check her out as well!