Max Lewing Literary Criticism
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Literary Criticism Assignment
As I read through the novel To Kill A Mockingbird I started to really understand what the author, Nelle Harper Lee, was trying to express or portray with her words. After the many years that the book has been in stores for anyone to buy, many people have read this book and they all had a mix of different reactions and opinions on what Lee was trying to say. Some readers are being critical on the novel while others are praising it because of the way Lee expressed her opinion and story. I believe that what Lee was trying to depict in her novel was how intense and serious the topic of racism and justice was, and still can be today. This novel, I find, was meant to be used as a learning tool for high school students and everyone who has never been informed on his serious and important a topic this is. Many other people agree with me, based on some of the critical reviews that I have read, but many people also disagree with me.
The many people who have read To Kill A Mockingbird over the past many years have found that having Scout, who is a six year old girl, narrate the whole story in a way that it sounds like she is 30 years old is utterly preposterous. Just like Phoebe Adams said, in her 1960 review in the Atlantic Monthly, “It is frankly and completely impossible, being told in the first person by a six year old girl with the prose style of a well educated adult.” Frankly, I agree with her. However, this book seems to takes place over a long period of time, a few years in fact. Whos to say that Scout is telling us a story of when she was a child as an adult? In the beginning of the book, it reads “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow,” and then, “When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident.” This shows you that Scout was telling a story that had already happened in the past. For all we know, she could be anywhere from 10 years old to 30 years old. In other words, there is no point in critiquing the novel on this subject because Scout is definitely not telling this story as a six year old kid.
Another topic that this novel was strongly critiqued on was the hero of To Kill A Mockingbird, Mr. Atticus Finch. There are two sides to the argument on Atticus: one side believes that the hero of the book is a great role model and does everything he can to stop racism, discrimination, and any similar activity. The other side is basically the complete opposite: these people believe that Atticus just lives his life and does nothing to try and stop the disturbances in the community of Maycomb. One of these people is Monroe Freedman who said, “Finch never attempts to change the racism and sexism that permeates the life of MaycombOn the contrary, he lives his own life as the passive participant in that pervasive injustice. And that is not my idea of a role model for young lawyers.” What I believe to be true is that Atticus is a hero and he is a good role model that tries to do everything in his capability to stop the racism and discrimination in Maycomb. Atticus seems to be a more of a timid man, in most cases, but when it comes to something that seems to him like it must be done, then he will do everything he can to help the cause. Atticus proves this just by helping Tom Robinson fight his way through the jurys mind to prove that the black man is innocent, after being wrongfully accused of rape. In his time period, what Atticus did to help around town seemed, to a lot of people, to be a noble cause and most people in Maycomb respected him very much. Obviously, Atticus was good at what he did, and the cause he was fighting for is just another reason why so many young lawyers of our world today look