Tuesday, December 09, 2014
To Kill A Mockingbird (audio)
I've read To Kill a Mockingbird many times. I probably wouldn't have been ready for another reread if it weren't for I Kill the Mockingbird, which I read and adored a few months ago. As I wandered the library stacks a couple of weeks ago, I spotted this audiobook on the shelf and had to listen. I don't know if I would go running for another book narrated by Sissy Spacek, though. Her southern twang was not a good match for my Yankee ears. However, that does nothing to detract from the beauty and the depth of this book.
Listening to this at the same time as we've had all this unrest in America made it all seem that much more meaningful. First, you think that what happened to Tom Robinson couldn't happen in America today. In fact, if you ask that poor girl from the University of Virginia, she'd certainly agree. Then, you see what's been happening in Ferguson and New York City and so many other places and you start to wonder just how far we've come. The peaceful protests happening all over the country with so many people and organizations coming out and making themselves known and heard seems like a step in the right direction. Not the looters and burners and violent acts, but the others, the students on campuses and in major cities all over the country, and the professional athletes using their status to quietly make their point.
Joss Whedon tweeted this link the other day: It is powerful and sad. I'm torn between wanting every woman of color to make sure her sons know all of this and act accordingly to save their lives and being so appalled that it should be necessary.
Okay, I've digressed enough for the moment, back to the book. I imagine that I am supposed to be trying to reach an Atticus Finch-like state of being, but most days I feel more like Scout at the beginning of the book. In fact, at that age, I was a great deal like Scout. Not a tomboy, because I was just as happy playing with my dolls as I was climbing trees with the boys. But, I had strong opinions and a very set sense of self and self-worth.
I read the Sparknotes for this book, just to see if there was any interesting information to glean from them. I don't recommend them, they read like they were written by a child and seemed to miss some important things. Yes, Atticus Finch was ordered by the court to represent Tom Robinson. This didn't mean that it was just his turn or a fluke or some kind of punishment. The judge knew that Atticus would fight a good fight and do everything he could to defend Tom Robinson. It was a sign of respect to Atticus and the best that could be done for Tom.
I think the thing that Ms. Lee did best was to portray the locals with all of the complexities, human frailties and strengths that are innate in all of us.