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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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There are several copies of

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

available very cheaply at Green Metropolis if anyone is inerested.

 

The Reading Circle choice for March is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee:

A Pulitzer Prize winning novel set in the Deep South in the 1930s, in which a lawyer finds himself defending an innocent black man accused of raping a white girl. "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird". This is a lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this story - a black man charged with raping a white girl in the Deep South of the 1930s.

 

Some questions to consider:

1- Who was your favourite character and why?

2- Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?

3- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

4- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

5- Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

(You do not have to answer all, or indeed, any, of these questions, they are meant only as points for you to perhaps mull over as you read, and provoke more discussion. Please feel free to ask and answer any questions that come up as you read.)

 

 

Some additional questions taken from www.readinggroupguides.com:

(DO NOT READ THESE QUESTIONS TILL YOU HAVE READ THE BOOK, AS THERE MAY BE SPOILERS INVOLVED)

1. How do Scout, Jem, and Dill characterize Boo Radley at the beginning of the book? In what way did Boo's past history of violence foreshadow his method of protecting Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell? Does this repetition of aggression make him more or less of a sympathetic character?

 

2. In Scout's account of her childhood, her father Atticus reigns supreme. How would you characterize his abilities as a single parent? How would you describe his treatment of Calpurnia and Tom Robinson vis a vis his treatment of his white neighbors and colleagues? How would you typify his views on race and class in the larger context of his community and his peers?

 

3. The title of Lee's book is alluded to when Atticus gives his children air rifles and tells them that they can shoot all the bluejays they want, but "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." At the end of the novel, Scout likens the "sin" of naming Boo as Bob Ewell's killer to "shootin' a mockingbird." Do you think that Boo is the only innocent, or mockingbird, in this novel?

 

4. Scout ages two years-from six to eight-over the course of Lee's novel, which is narrated from her perspective as an adult. Did you find the account her narrator provides believable? Were there incidents or observations in the book that seemed unusually "knowing" for such a young child? What event or episode in Scout's story do you feel truly captures her personality?

 

5. To Kill a Mockingbird has been challenged repeatedly by the political left and right, who have sought to remove it from libraries for its portrayal of conflict between children and adults; ungrammatical speech; references to sex, the supernatural, and witchcraft; and unfavorable presentation of blacks. Which elements of the book-if any-do you think touch on controversial issues in our contemporary culture? Did you find any of those elements especially troubling, persuasive, or insightful?

 

6. Jem describes to Scout the four "folks" or classes of people in Maycomb County: "

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I haven't read this since my O-levels (and the very fact they were O-levels and not GCSEs tells you how long that was), but I quite often wonder if this is one of the books that had the strongest influences on the way I think. I almost don't want to ever go back to it because I have an idealised picture of the way it pushes the case for the disenfranchised and outsiders and contrarians against the popular and populist mob.

 

It's also probably the only book I ever read as a school book that I still cared about despite spending time studying it. I always found that forced study killed books. To Kill A Mocking Bird was powerful enough and well enough written to push through that with its brightness still intact.

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I've never read it yet but did you know that Harper Lee was childhood friend of Truman Capote! All true!

 

I'm a fan of Capote's work and Harper Lee's mentioned in the movie Capote and infamous.

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3- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?







 

It's her only work to date & it p'd off Truman Capote as it was so good. Dill is generally thought to be modeled on Capote who was a childhood friend of Harper Lee's.

 

Altogether a work of genius. It's standard GCSE text now. I recently listened to Sissy Spacek's reading of it. Simply amazing.

 

People may or may not know that Harper Lee was with Capote when he did the research for In Cold Blood. Another work of genius in my opinion. And I believe the creation of a genre.

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It's her only work to date & it p'd off Truman Capote as it was so good. Dill is generally thought to be modeled on Capote who was a childhood friend of Harper Lee's.

 

Whoops, just Scottish bookworm's post. Sorry.

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It's her only work to date...

LOL! That'll teach me to post the generic questions straight over! Although, it does say genre/author, so I'm using that as my get-out claus. :lol:

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To Kill A Mockingbird was one of the books I did for English Literature GCE 'O' Levels when I was 16. With a fantastic teacher guiding the class, I "learned" more about the world out there through this book. It touches about human compassion, the good and the ugly facets of human behaviour, racism, class segregation, and much more.

 

I would like to read it again sometime soon.

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I managed to get the book from the college library and finished reading about 2 days ago. Managed to read about a quarter of the book while in my Study Skills lesson (I got bored after finishing my exams):blush:.

 

I found it hard to get into the book at first but I got to a certain point where I just got completely engrossed. I loved the way it was written through the eyes of a young girl but my favourite part was that there were 2 plots in the book, even though only 1 is advertised. I loved the whole Boo Radley connection and almost cried when Scout realized who had helped her and Jem!

 

I also had the pleasure of watching the 1962 movie version. They completely missed the point of the book, taking away the young girls POV and rushing through everything. It's a shame.

 

I will elaborate by answering some of those questions from the first post tomorrow. But I will say that it was a pleasure to read the book and I am glad it was picked for this month.

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I just finished it today and I loved it. I really liked the way Harper Lee criticizes racism and prejudice. Despite its serious theme, I found myself laughing at times. Moreover, I thought that Atticus was great, both as a father and as a person. Also, I think that the two major plots were well connected. To finish, I liked Boo Radley very much, and I can't say I'm sorry that he killed Ewell, I found it rather fair, instead

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This is a very short thread for a book that many of us hold so near and dear to our hearts!

 

To Kill a Mockingbird is turning 50 in July and I'm going to use the anniversary as a perfect opportunity to re-read the novel. :lol:

 

America is celebrating the novel with a huge variety of events; I would love to be there to help celebrate!

 

There are also 4 new editions of the book being released. I was excited to see this because I'd really love a nice edition for my shelf, but I'm not very impressed with the covers (as shown here). I hate any writing that appears in a circle on the cover. It detracts from everything else.

 

Actually, I could probably do without any reference to the 50th anniversary on the cover. I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer for a nice new edition.

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This is a very short thread for a book that many of us hold so near and dear to our hearts!

 

To Kill a Mockingbird is turning 50 in July and I'm going to use the anniversary as a perfect opportunity to re-read the novel. :lol:

 

America is celebrating the novel with a huge variety of events; I would love to be there to help celebrate!

 

There are also 4 new editions of the book being released. I was excited to see this because I'd really love a nice edition for my shelf, but I'm not very impressed with the covers (as shown here). I hate any writing that appears in a circle on the cover. It detracts from everything else.

 

Actually, I could probably do without any reference to the 50th anniversary on the cover. I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer for a nice new edition.

 

Thanks for letting us know Kylie, I hope you get your new edition :lol:

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It's the exact same text, Laura, just in shiny new covers. :) I can't wait to read your thoughts. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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Way back in 1996 I was studying A Level English at the time and we used to have to do book reports on books of our choosing, one time I chose To Kill A Mockingbird and I didn’t like it. I remember my tutor writing on the bottom of the book report that I should read it again as it really is a lovely book. I thought what is so lovely about it it’s just a book about some guy call Boo who no one ever sees.

 

Over the years in many book discussions with friends I have often been told that I must read it again so after a while I started to think that perhaps I should give it another go seeing as how popular it is.

 

I have finally re-read To Kill A Mockingbird and see that I did misinterpret the book and that it is actually a lot nicer than I gave it credit. Although saying that I still don’t see why so many people hold it so dear. Or perhaps knowing that it is so well loved meant me were too high.

 

My favourite character was Atticus Fitch. I do have a soft spot for characters like Atticus those who always seem to know the right thing to say and the right way to behave and remain so calm all the time. I think this is because that’s how I would like to be myself but never seem to manage it. I did feel his pointing the finger of blame at Jem at the end of the book was very out of character and just didn’t ring true with me.

 

Parts of the book I enjoyed was the child in Scout shining trough. Descriptions of school and her not being able to fathom out why her teacher didn’t like her being able to read and trying to stand up for the other children as this teacher was clearly clueless as to what they were thinking. I enjoyed the chapter where Calpurina took Jem and Scout to her own church and how the children preferred the atmosphere there compared to their own church.

 

Something that I didn’t enjoy about the book was I felt that there was too much going on unnecessarily. I felt that Jem and Scout were strong enough characters on their own with out the need for Dill as well. I really didn’t see the need for the neighbour who wanted Jem to read to her I thought that this raised too many issues into the book. I also felt that there was an underlying story with Atticus’s health that was never really explored and felt that it should have either been dealt with or left out altogether.

 

Overall I did enjoy the book just not as much as others. I was left feeling it was neither one thing nor another. I feel people often think of it as a book about racism but for me that that side of the book was rather watered down but then I saw a programme on bbc4 about the book and the time that it was written in and realised that it was sensitively written so not to cause controversy.

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I know, this is an old thread. I'm new here.

 

I've read To Kill a Mockingbird more than a dozen times: it is my most treasured read. I travel a great deal. I read a great deal. I take a copy of this book wherever I go and have done for the past 32 years. If the read I'm lugging with me doesn't push the buttons I can return to this jewel.

 

I grew up on a farm on the outskirts of a village, with an older brother and a younger sister (in the UK). There was an old lady in our village who we hardly ever saw: she growled at almost everyone almost all of the time. We would steal apples, plums, pears, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, from her backyard. When she did catch us she chased us off with a broom. She was scary. The year my elder bother went to Uni, she sent him a card wishing him good luck.

 

A book about being a kid. Getting dirty. Getting scolded. Getting spanked. Growing up. Learning about life. Seeing life clearly with young eyes. Innocent, honest, frank, eyes.

 

brother not bother - and no need to say elder, he's my only brother

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...I take a copy of this book wherever I go and have done for the past 32 years.

 

That's a wonderful relationship you have there.

And To Kill A Mocking Bird is definitely worthy of it.

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I've read To Kill a Mockingbird more than a dozen times: it is my most treasured read. I travel a great deal. I read a great deal. I take a copy of this book wherever I go and have done for the past 32 years. If the read I'm lugging with me doesn't push the buttons I can return to this jewel.

 

I'm echoing bree's sentiments: that is a beautiful relationship :smile2:

 

I grew up on a farm on the outskirts of a village, with an older brother and a younger sister (in the UK). There was an old lady in our village who we hardly ever saw: she growled at almost everyone almost all of the time. We would steal apples, plums, pears, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, from her backyard. When she did catch us she chased us off with a broom. She was scary. The year my elder bother went to Uni, she sent him a card wishing him good luck.

 

I knew these people exist in real life but I don't think I've ever come across with any of them; thus I thank you for this story, it made me go all 'awwwww' :)

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It is a while since I read this. 

 

1- Who was your favourite character and why?

I loved Jem, her narrative and how it spans her loss of childhood innocence, yet at the same time conveys the extent of the stupidity of hatred that exists in adults.


2- Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?  The narrative of Jem, the childlike voice and elements of humour.


3- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?  I have read more books set in the South of America at this time.  This remains to me the best work based on this period. 


4- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?  I did struggle with the injustice, it was the first time I had encountered American history and had been aware of racism however not the smaller details that are shown here in daily day to day life. 


5- Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?  I read this as part of my GCSE in English and it was enjoyable, it was one of the few books that I enjoyed reading that had been on the syllabus.

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I think I'm going to have to read this.

I don't want to miss out on something (if it's as good as people make out).

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I read this book for English class, unfortunately I don't remember a lot from it. I liked it but I didn't think it was brilliant (**** (4/5)). To be honest, I think I might understand it better if I were to re-read it. It's upstairs in a box atm, so that probably won't happen any time soon.

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Dear Beneak,

 

That's such a wonderful story, I shall tell my mother and father: a book they both love so much, a book they gave to me as present, and I too love dearly. I shall take a glass of wine for a bath: 'awwwww'.

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LOL

This book is like revisiting school all over again. I'm not sure if I can read it again without remembering having to study it as a teenager. Would love to try appreciate it on its own someday.

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