March 15, 2021

#08-058: To Kill a Mockingbird

film poster with Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, and a children's drawing of a bird on notebook paper torn in half, along with crayons and jacks, all seeming to be on a wooden floor
Poster from the film version

Note: Happy is the person who has read Harper Lee's 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, or at least seen its outstanding film adaptation, starring Gregory Peck. It was the only book of Ms Lee's to be published until near the very end of her life. She died in February, 2016; in July, 2015, her sister authorized the publication of an earlier (and, most believe, inferior) draft of the same book titled Go Set a Watchman.

Get Ready: Atticus Finch is a "small-town hero" (to readers, at least). How important are such people, compared to the "grand" national heroes, for example?

Partially autobiographical, To Kill a Mockingbird portrays the childhood of a six-year-old girl named Jean Louise Finch, nicknamed "Scout," and especially her father's role in the trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman.

Such a thing would have certainly led to the black man's death in Alabama in the 1930s, but into the story comes Scout's father, the redoubtable Atticus Finch, a small-town lawyer of great integrity who has, since the story's publication, inspired real-world lawyers to crusade for the rights of individuals.

Scout and her brother Jeremy (called "Jem"), along with their neighbor Dill, spend their time exploring the town's environs and interacting with its colorful characters. One of these is "Boo" Radley, a reclusive young neighbor whose family has kept him hidden from sight for many years. Boo will play a significant role later in the story.

When Tom Robinson is arrested for allegedly raping Mayella Ewell, Atticus is assigned to defend him, and he does so to the best of his ability (to the disapproval of many of the townspeople). As the trial progresses, Atticus has to stop a mob intent on lynching Tom; the three children arrive, and Scout's natural candor helps dissipate the crowd's fury.

Even though Atticus proves that Mayella and her father, Bob, are lying, the jury convicts Tom. In despair, Tom tries to escape from the jail, and is killed in the attempt.

One night after the school Halloween pageant, Bob Ewell attacks Jem and Scout in revenge for the humiliation their father caused him. They are saved by none other than Boo Radley, who, after a touching encounter with Scout, re-enters his house, never to meet her again.


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. allegedly
  2. candor
  3. dissipate
  4. environs
  5. humiliating
  6. lynching
  7. pageant
  8. raping
  9. reclusive
  10. redoubtable

  1. forcing to have sex
  2. openness; honesty
  3. formidable; impressive
  4. hiding away from the public
  5. killing without legal authority (usually by hanging)
  6. a costume parade
  7. embarrassing; shaming
  8. cause to go away
  9. supposedly; ostensibly
  10. surrounding area

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for March 15, 2021

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. i; 2. b; 3. h; 4. j; 5. g; 6. e; 7. f; 8. a; 9. d; 10. c