To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Mass Market Paperback, 376 pages
Published December 1982 by Grand Central Publishing (first published July 11th 1960)
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
S1: E19 Rune is out of work and staying with Sookie and Jackson. Sookie implores Lorelai on Rune's behalf in hopes to get him on his feet and out of her house as soon as possible.
SOOKIE: Well, that's okay. Maybe he could just work for, uh, room and board.
LORELAI: You want him to live here?
SOOKIE: No! Well, what about the old potting shed?
LORELAI: The old potting shed? That's where Rory and I lived when she was a baby. It has memories and little rosebud wallpaper. I don't want Boo Radley touching my rosebud wallpaper.
S2: E8 Jess' anecdotes around Stars Hollow have the town reeling. At the latest town meeting, Rory watches Luke stick up for his Jess and feels obliged to talk sense into him.
JESS: I'm not really familiar with the blue book laws in this town, so you can be talking about a lot of things. Dropping a gum wrapper, strolling arm in arm with a member of the opposite sex on a Sunday. [Rory gestures to the chalk outline] Ah. What about it?
RORY: You did it. The whole town knows you did it. They had a meeting about it.
JESS: You actually went to that bizarro town meeting? Those things are so 'To Kill A Mockingbird.'
S3: E6 During a town meeting, Taylor discusses that the town loner has put in a request to protest in the square which is strictly prohibited. The town loner does later attempt to protest in the square, but his banner rips in execution and we never discover his just cause.
TAYLOR: Hold it. There’s one more issue that must be addressed before we can adjourn. All right. Now, that weird, taciturn fellow who’s always walking around with his backpack has put in an absurd request to stage a protest in the town square.
LORELAI: The town loner?
LUKE: That guy still lives around here?
BABETTE: Somewhere in the hills, right?
LUKE: I thought he was long gone.
ANDREW: No, he came into the bookstore a couple times last month, never said a word.
MISS PATTY: He’s a bit creepy.
TAYLOR: Very creepy.
LORELAI: But he’s our Boo Radley, and we don’t have a Boo Radley, unless you count the troubadour or Pete the pizza guy or the guy who talks to mailboxes.
RORY: Well, I think the point is that every town needs as many Boo Radleys as they can get.
LORELAI: Yes, that’s my point.
Jess parallels the small-town vibe and intimacy of in Stars Hollow to that of Maycomb, Alabama. Maycomb is made up of people who know everything about one another and generally contain generations of the same families growing up together. Anything worth talking about around town will most likely be discussed or addressed in a public forum and every townsperson has an opinion to voice, particularly at a town gathering.
Boo Radley, also Arthur Radley, is the hero of To Kill A Mockingbird and grossly misunderstood. He is the town's recluse and has a general dislike of involving himself with the town and other people, so the children use the nickname Boo insinuating their fear of him and therefore the unknown. They make up stories and tall tales signaling why he is never seen, but his later appearance portrays just how good Boo Radley actually is. Using this in regards to both Rune and the town loner also lend widely different meanings in the context that the Gilmores are speaking. Lorelai relates Rune to the Boo Radley in the beginning of the novel and relates the town loner to that of Arthur Radley in the latter of the novel.
BOOKMARKS: "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." - Part 1, Chapter 10
"High above us in the darkness a solitary mocker poured out his repertoire in blissful unawareness of whose tree he sat in, plunging from the shrill kee, kee of the sunflower bird to the irascible qua-ack of a bluejay, to the sad lament of Poor Will, Poor Will, Poor Will."
- Part 2, Chapter 28
"Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough."
- Part 2, Chapter 31
Atticus is the real page-turner of the novel and is everything you could want in a parental-figure, fictional or not. He uses his own life as an example of true bravery and integrity for his children, dismisses physical skill as a type of courage, and recounts a tactless older woman as a true pillar of strength when she chooses to fight her own demons and die gracefully. Atticus Finch's ultimate goal is to teach his children truth and compassion for others; although they may face adversities due to his career, he wants his children to be proud of him and fight for what is right even if against odds.
The timing of this book will always be relevant, but even more so with the current events of this year. This is precisely the type of role model that we need to be comparing ourselves against during this time of civil injustice in June of 2020. We need to be determining what we stand for and what we stand against so that we may be able to look ourselves in the mirror and know that we chose what was right because "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win."
WHAT THE WHAT?:
The Gray Ghost: A Seckatary Hawkins Mystery by Robert F. Schulkers is being read to Jem and Scout at the end of the novel, and lo-and-behold it is an intricate message chosen specifically and purposefully by Atticus. The story involves one of the characters being wrongly accused and pursued by the public for a crime he didn't commit and whose innocence is revealed once caught. When Atticus picks up Scout to take her to her own room she explains that she was listening, not sleeping, and that the man was “real nice” when “they finally saw him,” to which Atticus confirms his daughter's sentiment. The book ends here, putting the novel to sleep with Scout and laying to rest the themes within the novel with a nod to the responsibility and opportunity we will always have to contribute our empathy and activism against often overlooked and ingrained evils.
CARO'S RATING: 5 OF 5 STARS
This is one of the classic books that I never read in my childhood, but I have been deeply moved in reading it as an adult. Although this book was written in 1960, Tom Robinson's trial takes place in 1935, just before the start of WWII. The section of this book that is particularly haunting compares the treatment of what Hitler was implementing to the Jewish people during the beginning of the Holocaust to the ignorance in the treatment of Black people in the town of Maycomb; it is an obvious remark on just how bigotry and ignorance are so deeply seeded. I was emotional countless times in the duration of this book, but none more so than the exact spelling out of such a skewed perception here: a portrayal of judgment without reason, and the ancestral poison being passed down in ignorance. Let us educate ourselves and eradicate seeing people as anything other than, "I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks,"as Jem reflects to Scout.
Follow me on Goodreads
Follow my progress on The Gilmore Project