"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Saturday, March 29, 2014

To Kill a Mockingbird


"Atticus stood up and walked to the end of the porch.  When he completed his examination of the wisteria vine he strolled back to me.
'First of all,' he said, 'if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks.  You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-'
'Sir?'
'-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.'"
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (page33)

From the vantage point of history we can examine themes of racism and prejudice, morality, courage and bravery in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.  These are the obvious themes, but I have to say that the lessons that I took from the novel on this reading are slightly different than they were 20 years ago.  Today I found myself more interested in the concept of slowing down and gaining an understanding of the human experience through individuals.
Are we losing our ability to "get along with all kinds of folks" by forgetting Atticus' simple trick?

How about small town life?  I grew up in a small town and I can always tell on meeting someone if they have a similar background.  It's something about the way they communicate, I find that people who moved around or grew up in cities are slightly more guarded and quicker to establish certain criteria.  Do you think a small town setting breeds a "wait and see" attitude in a person?  People present themselves one way but there is always another side, a family secret, something wayward and imperfect in everyone's story.  In small towns we know all of these things... about everyone!
Do you think Harper Lee used the small town setting to this effect?


 Can we talk about Atticus as a romantic figure?
Who is in love with Atticus? (raises hand)  Why is he so loveable?  Is it that he is the one real grown-up in the novel, the character who understands fully that there is right and wrong in everyone?  He is the conscience of the novel but he is also masculine and brave to the core.
 Of course it doesn't hurt that Gregory Peck played him in the movie, very handsomely I might add.
 "People in their right minds never take pride in their talents." (Miss Maudie, page 112)

Atticus was a gentleman, through and through.
 How about Scout?  Isn't she the feisty girl we all wanted to be?

"...pass the damn ham, please..."

She's scrappy, she cusses, she brawls with the boys and she wants to understand concepts of justice and place in the world.  She adores her father but her brother too, she's curious and she's not self-conscious.
She's not lost the talents we are born with, to see the world with a clear eye, to be unafraid and to question.
Jem might be the boy but Scout is the little Atticus!

Of course some will say that Atticus' arguments weren't sound and that his own ideas of justice were severely limited:

The Courthouse Ring: Atticus Finch and the limits of Southern Liberalism (Malcolm Gladwell)

This is the sort of novel that is studied to death and flaws and faults can be found throughout... but it is a novel, and in the end it's the feeling that we take away from it and the bigger themes that are opened up to further contemplation that make a re-read so compelling.

To Kill a Mockingbird:  Too Simple a Moral Tale? (Sam Jordison)

I would say that it is a simple moral tale but no less effective for its simplicity.

Tell me what you brought out of the novel this time.  Who is your favourite character?  Is Atticus' treatment of Boo at the novel's ending morally ambiguous?
Did you find the dialogue between Scout, Jem and Dill hilarious?  Do they seem like children who are written older than their years?
Have you watched the movie recently?  How do you think the book and the movie are holding up over time?
Any and all thoughts are welcome.
xoxDani






52 comments:

  1. Well I am going to break my comments up into several smaller posts so it will be easier to read!

    First: great commentary Dani and great book choice!

    The first thing I need to comment on is language. Harper Lee is a painter in this novel. I hadn't read this book since I was 14 and the use of evocative language so overwhelmed me that I thought I would weep with happiness at various points in the story (and here I make the Virginia Woolf-Harper Lee connection, since of all of the books we've read together thus far, these are the two that have really SHOWN me their world, IFKWIM).

    “Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flied in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by night fall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum

    People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, noting to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.”

    doesn't that just tell you all you need to know about that town at that time in history?

    There are images like that throughout the book and the story, whole paragraphs and pages that make you think "that's it exactly!" So even if you somehow took umbrage with the plot conceits you couldn't help but understand that you were being guided by the hands of a storyteller who was so brilliant that she never could top this book and didn't seem to try.

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    1. That paragraph is symphony and that article link explains very well why.

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    2. Wendy it does, it tells us everything we need to know about the town, it's a gorgeous passage of writing.

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    3. The imagery was just perfect unlike other "classics" that go on for nine pages telling you about the river/grass/trees what have you.

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    4. BB I agree, it was straight and to the point yet vivid.

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  2. oh no! That seemed longer than anticipated! I think Atticus is drawn almost Christ-like in this book. He sees the faults of all of his fellow-citizens, but he loves them all, in spite of and because of all of those faults. They are his people. Mistakes he makes are all born out of this love and in many places in the book, that love is rewarded. As for Boo, the early line in the book "that there were other ways of making people into ghosts" is so brilliant, because the concurrent themes of the two marginalized peoples of the time - African-Americans and People with Intellectual Disabilities - are dealt with side-by-side throughout the novel, and the tragedy, that even Heck acknowledges in the end, is that both men were trying to help those in need and they couldn't save the first, but they could save the second and for me at least, this is not morally ambiguous so much as higher laws at play.

    As for Scout and Jem - I think these are such finely drawn characters, with their own personalities and sense of right and wrong that it is such a pleasure to read them both. Scout as narrator is brilliant; she is a wild horse, a wry observer of life, and even she herself knows that these are days that will not and cannot last. One of the best lines about school ending is said by Scout in the book:

    "the authorities released us early from school" - just brilliant, as we all thought of them as jailers, didn't we?

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    1. Wendy I felt the same way about the ending though that is a popular criticism of this book, the rule of law argument... though it seems pointless really when you consider the injustices which were the main theme of the book!
      Scout's voice as the narrator is so perfect, I had forgotten how wonderful it was.

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  3. okay - last comment - really - which is about small towns. I grew up in a town of 4,500 in a province of about 740,000 people. My dad had a public position in this small town and so everyone knew us as the McLeods up on Marks Street. You couldn't go anywhere or do anything without it getting back to your parents. Everyone knew everyone else, or knew who they were, and they took the living in that small town, and the activities that supported the town, very seriously. You didn't and couldn't have airs because everyone remembered the time you did something stupid and would remind you of it. You could walk from one end of town to the other in half an hour and you roamed everywhere. And you knew the Boo Radley-esque houses and you were drawn to them like a moth to the flames. I consider it the greatest gift of my life to grow up in a small place and I often dream of moving back to a small town again. The sixties didn't reach our town till 1973 and that was probably a good thing. and so to me, Maycomb is one of the key characters in the novel and is as beautifully drawn as the others!

    Loved this choice Dani and can't wait to read the others' comments!

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    1. Wendy I had a very similar small town experience and it was a gift. The town had its own story and we all played a part, there was a connectedness and an authenticity to relationships that I took for granted as a kid.
      Great comments Wendy and I'm so pleased you enjoyed the book this time around!

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    2. Grew up an army brat so moved every two three years. Made friends fast and hard and then moved on to the next group. Not sure I would want to know people "all my life". My family does keep me humble...things are forgiven, never forgotten.

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    3. BB you do have a strong and extremely connected family. I envy that "knowingness". My family dissipated when my parents divorced and moved away from our small town when I was 23, I lost my town but also my family bonds which explains my nostalgia for all of that... funny I'm going through that now, probably has to do with my kids getting older etc, mid-life stuff.
      Army brat hey, maybe that's why you're so funny! Humour always helps break into new situations!

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    4. we moved away when I was 15, but it is still home, even though the only person I am still close to there is 89! I will always, always, always love it there!

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  4. I might have to come back in bits and pieces bc this is like one of those American behemoth of a dish where it is so big you dont' know how to even take the first bite...

    Things have come a long way and that Guardian article shows - it was groundbreaking for the time ( i gather as i wasn't around then.) but they questioned if it was "anodyne". Re the race relations I have this odd exposure to the south. Growing up in Korea - we went to one of the only english catholic masses on the US army base where they have a huge military presence. Because of it I had this split life where on the weekends I went to church and sunday school with people from poor southern backgrounds who went into the army bc it was one of the few ways to gain proper employment. I was exposed to conversations that made me realize that this book wasn't fiction simply put. But were they god fearing and did they do charitable acts? yes. were they perfect? no. Racism is too big a topic for me to comment on here. Too many layers of it and I think people are too idealistic about it.

    But is it too simple a tale? No - not at all. In fact, I like this mix of grand message coupled with realistic compromises. People sometimes need to get used to an idea before something eventuates into reality. In real life one can only do and process things in stages. the case was big enough for the town to digest. On a side superfluous note, I think Gladwell among many others did a piece on this if I am not mistaken - one of the reasons why Obama got elected on a pop culture point of view was apparently there were distinct movie and tv roles where the president was a black man so it didn't seem as odd when it happened in real life.

    Re small town - I have only lived in huge cities and yet i constantly bump into people. London may be a city of 10 million plus people and yet it can feel like an Appalachian town at times. I am very guilty of saying a hello to someone i havent seen in a few years then sharing what they did that one drunked night in 1996. No one is safe I say! hehe

    I look forward to reading others comments along with Wendy x

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  5. Naomi that is so interesting about your childhood, I didn't know that.
    I like the mixture of the message as well, I think it's very effective and coupled with the small town setting it is exquisitely put, almost painful to read isn't it. It is much more realistic to consider taking things in stage by stage, very interesting this Gladwell article pop culture/Obama, I'll have to look for that I haven't read it.
    I can see why certain areas of London could be small-townish, especially if you went to school there or had an early working life there... I live in a small city but in a fairly tight-knit neighbourhood though to me it's nothing like small town life because the people here have families elsewhere, I don't really know them in that same way nor do they know me, (I didn't go to school here or spend my 20's here either). I haven't really felt that sense of belonging since I left my hometown, which is kind of sad and this book made me melancholy for it I have to say!
    I'm very happy you enjoyed the read Naomi.

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  6. This is one of Em's favorites and to be honest had no idea what it was about, never have seen the movie. I read it, loved it, and have convinced Hunter to give it a go. I thought it was perfectly written from Scout's point of view. Brought me back to my own childhood and the dynamics between my older sister and I, the games we played, opinions we had, friends we made. I read for pure pleasure and was not disappointed. Thank you Dani.

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    1. BB I'm really really pleased you loved it so much. Also a connect with Em! I hope Hunter does give it a go and funny just this morning MrBP mentioned that he's going to suggest it for his men's book club.

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    2. BB - that is so funny as Barry has just picked it up and begun reading it! Wonder what our Lane will think? I know she is en route home from Florida right now so we may have to wait a bit to find out!

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  7. I haven't read this in years and years, so I don't have a lot to add. My mother just retired after many years as a teacher in the state gifted program, and she taught this book every year. As the years have passed and her students have gone on to be doctors. lawyers, scientists, etc., many of them have returned to tell her how meaningful discussion of this book was for them. And has anyone else noticed a recent proliferation of baby boys named Atticus? I know two.

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    1. Hi Hex! No Atticus, but a lot of Scouts! I know two girls besides Dani's new baby!

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    2. Hexicon how interesting. I know this book had a huge impact on my older daughter (who named our dog Scout). We took our rascals to a live production of this at Stratford about 7 years ago and we loved it, I bawled like a baby!
      Babies named Atticus! I love it! And Wendy I didn't know you knew little girls with the name Scout, besides our pups of course. ;)

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  8. I just had a lengthy comment I spent time laboring over disappear into the ether. First Dani, great intro you make all the right points on how best to view this novel and had I seen it before starting, I might have persevered. Trying a novel written in this style (or a Hemingway novel) right after John LeCarre's masterpiece A Perfect Spy is a very tall order and Scout's narrative voice just couldn't get ahold of me.

    The line by Miss Maudie that "People in their right mind never take pride in their talents" is so apt and why people like Harper Lee and her childhood friend Truman Capote (Dill) flee for the cultural capitals.

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  9. GSl sorry you lost your comment, that is so frustrating and it always seems to happen to my longer comments aargh.
    That might be my favourite quote in the entire novel. Have another run at this once A Perfect Spy has left your mind a little, it is difficult to switch from voice to voice.
    So you recommend that do you? I've never read it.

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    1. I didn't take that quote as necessarily meaning that people aren't recognized at home, but that more about the importance of humility, though perhaps I read it wrong? Or maybe a double meaning there? now I have to go look it up and reread in context!

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    2. Wendy I think there is a double meaning there, the whole "right mind" business. Some with talents maybe hum at a higher level and are not suited to this sort of community where pride, being proud of yourself for such-and-such, is maybe not quite the thing? I like that quote because it reminds us that humility and slowly taking in the world are very important things. Atticus had many talents but just tried to live his life justly, he didn't want recognition but he wanted to do right for his own conscience.

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  10. As one who grew up in the South, TKAM has great meaning for me. I saw the discrimination that had been passed down from ancestors. Luckily my parents were very fair and made sure I wasn't raised to hate based on the color of one's skin. The passage about the talcum powdered ladies and afternoon naps really hits home and reminds me of my childhood. Could you imagine living in the South now without air conditioning? We were expected to go outside to play and stay out from underfoot all summer while blackberries were being turned into jam in a steaming hot kitchen. Occasionally they would let us string and snap green beans but they weren't a bit happy if a stringy bean ends up in the mess to can. I can just hear my grandma saying, "bless their hearts".

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    1. All gossip/judgements are still prefaced with "bless their/his/her heart". Makes those scathing remarks just sound sweeter.

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    2. Shopping Celle it sounds like a different world to me! And no air conditioning!
      This novel must be very emotional for you considering that you can relate to it so well coming from your own childhood. I find it very emotional as it is and I grew up in a small Canadian town which was very different.
      Your parents sound like really good people!

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    3. BB it's funny I know that expression really well but I think some of the meaning is lost on me because it is not part of my experience. Again a different world which of course makes it fascinating.

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  11. I've read the book several times before (in school and out), and the film is a favorite of mine mainly because it calls to mind the town where my maternal grandparents lived. Greg Peck as Atticus Finch puts me too much in mind of both my grandfathers to be a heartthrob.

    I'm a Southerner. It's a southern thing to take life at a slower pace and place great emphasis and value on your relationships/connections with people in your community. It's the norm to come to the aid of your neighbors, to rally round if someone's ill, experiencing difficulties, or celebrating something joyful like a new baby, etc. People will know you, your parents, grandparents, all the way back to Capt. John Smith. That's true whether you live in a city or the smallest of towns. There is a general acceptance of people and their quirks and foibles. Individuals like Boo Radley are accepted and usually aren't institutionalized. We joke that we don't hide our mad relations away; we put them on the front porch. I grew up in Virginia's largest city. During my early childhood, there was a simple soul, the only child of a couple who had lived in the neighborhood, who continued to live at home, cared for by family retainers until his death at eighty-nine. He would sometimes stand in the middle of an especially wide intersection and "direct" traffic by waving his handkerchief at cars. Everybody knew him and everybody waved at him as they sailed through the intersection. No one would have ever thought to alert the police (they knew). He enjoyed it and absolutely beamed while he was directing the traffic. If, like Boo, he had inadvertently killed someone who was harming a child, I have no doubt that even so many decades later than the setting of Miss Lee's story, he would not have been charged with murder. It would have been self-defense and great care would have been taken because of his childlike mental and emotional status.

    I can offer this piece of information about the South. It is not homogenous; there are many different Souths, each with different attitudes, accents, word usage, cuisine, etc., depending on place and social class. That would hold true for race relations in the South, as well as the rest of the country.

    I'm not old enough to have direct experience of Jim Crow laws or segregation; I have only a graduate-level history course that focused on C. Vann Woodward's scholarship. I think someone's experience with race relations would depend very much on location. For example, the Episcopal church I attend was never segregated, not even during colonial times, but I have a friend who grew up in NY's Hudson Valley, and in her church the galleries were installed for slaves and are still referred to as the slave galleries. I don't consider the book anodyne; I find it incredibly powerful in the way it deals with universal themes of inequality, justice, and class.

    I'm surprised by Coulda Shoulda Woulda's experience with Catholics from the South in Korea and wondered where those Catholics were from. Save for people with French backgrounds living in Louisiana, Catholics were very few and very far between in the South until the last fifteen years or so when so many people from Mexico immigrated to the South. There are lots of Episcopalians, Baptists, and Methodists because the South was settled by people from England. The North received the majority of European immigrants. Catholics have always been a very small minority.

    Notice in the film that Greg Peck doesn't walk home with his jacket over his arm. To paraphrase my great aunt, a gentleman would sooner take off his trousers than his jacket even on the hottest summer day.

    Dani, I admire your taste in books.

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    1. Janet thank you... and thank you for your amazing comment! Your perspective as a Southerner is incredibly interesting to me, what a community. It's like taking a small town feeling and magnifying it. Yet the history too of race and inequality, it's incredibly complex. And of course there are issues of race and class all over North America, not just the south.

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    2. I so enjoyed reading your entry Janet. There was a man similar to the one you mentioned that lived near my grandmother's church. Every Sunday, he would ride his bicycle to the church and direct the cars our of the parking lot in his own special way. Thanks for bringing back a memory I hadn't thought about for years.

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    3. The aspect of race relations is very complex; there are layers to the story that I imagine would be readily apparent to Southerners that, for me, even when I read it for the first time in seventh-grade English, made what happens to Tom Robinson especially horrifying.

      There's also the aspect of gender roles, think of Scout's aunt who does her best to turn tomboy Scout into a young lady. Now there's another story: when Scout has to begin piano lessons and preparation for the cotillions that are surely in her future.

      I love the South and thank the Lord often for plopping me down in Virginia. I feel great affection for the people, the land, the story-telling heritage, the figures of speech, the manners and traditions---the whole complicated world where people come first.

      I saw an interview in which Peck was asked only about his work; he was wonderfully self-deprecating. He mentioned the first time Miss Lee paid a visit to the To Kill a Mockingbird set. He was filmed walking toward the courthouse and said he tried to do his best impression of a Southern gentleman lawyer striding to work. During a break, Miss Lee went up to him and said he looked just like her father. Peck said he very briefly swelled with pride at the thought he had somehow managed to conjure up the character while merely walking. He deflated when Miss Lee pointed out that it was his little paunch that made him so like her father.

      Everyone's comments are so interesting. Isn't reading great?

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  12. Hiya

    This is a book I read at school when I was 15 and I like to dip back into it. I saw the movie last weekend or something with my son on telly. He liked the end where there was a fight and the man carried the boy (Boo helps Jem etc). He's 3 so his insights are limited!

    I like Cal, Miss Maudie, Jem, Scout and that little Truman Capote styled boy who likes to visit. I wonder a lot about his parents...

    And the reference to the tangee natural polish and lipstick.

    I was always fascinated by all the help with servants people got. This would cost a fortune in Australia, only the very rich could afford daily help.

    I spend the most time wondering about Mrs Atticus Finch- how she died, what she was like, what would have happened if she'd lived….Yes Atticus is handsome but could that be because Gregory Peck play him in the movie? They are inextricably entwined for me.

    I live in a city but it's an overgrown small town and everyone knows everything!

    We live in extreme heat and my partner would always wear a coat jacket at lunch never just a shirt and tie!

    I often think of that movie "the Help" when I think of this novel. All those black women eking out a living as servants…..

    Years ago I saw a doco about the movie and the 2 child actors stayed close to GP all their lives.

    In the movie I wept a bit when Scout says that Atticus stayed all night in Jem's room and would be there when he woke up but I did not like ti that Atticus automatically assumed that Jem stabbed what's his face Ewell…I liked it when the sheriff took control of that.

    I like the descriptions of food gardens decor and makeup, but i always like those bits in books.

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  13. FF I wonder about Mrs. Finch quite a bit, how would she feel about her children, what happened to her etc. Of course in the novel it was necessary that she not exist because I believe that Harper Lee was writing Atticus as a romantic figure, for herself and the reader.
    It was so important to me that my rascals knew and understood this story as they were growing up, we would refer to our older two as Jem and Scout when they were little, they were so similar to the characters in the way they played and related to each other. I could cry thinking about it! Your little guy would have been so cute to watch the movie with and I bet at 6 or 7 he would like it again and see new things in it. Then you could read it to him out loud, aah I miss those days.
    Thanks for your comment FF it was excellent. And I always like those descriptive bits in books as well.

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    1. I also really like it when at the afternoon tea whatsy I think Miss Maudie says something rude to the ladies to defend Atticus like "his food don't stick going down" or something. And I spent a long time wondering what a chiffonier was and why you'd want to break it up.

      Love everyone's comments.

      I'm watching Ghandi as I type- lots of similar themes there x

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  14. Most moving line: Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'.

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    1. Agree Fred! In the book and then the movie I was a blubbering mess...

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    2. I love that part too Fred. While we are discussing favorite quotes, I have one to mention. On a lighter note, after my children read this book for school one part always worried me. I just knew that sooner or later, one of my potty mouth kids would quote Scout at the Easter dinner table and ask someone to "pass the damn ham".

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  15. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorite books. My parents were born in the early 1940s in a small town in rural South Carolina. So much of the story reminds me of the town were they grew up. They went to school during Jim Crow and everything was separate. A white high school, a black high school; a white movie theater, a black movie theater; white churches, black churches--nothing was integrated. It's interesting, discrimination was rampant, but in the subtle undercurrent of everyday life. There weren't lynching and cross-burnings, but folks didn't marry outside of their race, either. It also was very common where they lived for most families, except for the very poor, to have domestic help. There wasn't air conditioning and my grandmother, who is 97, still has some of the hand-held fans that they used at church. My mother's family went to church on Sunday at 8:30am and 3:00pm, and the time in between was used for formal visiting--like in the book. You didn't work on Sunday, and you wouldn't sit packed in an unairconditioned church during the heat of the day. Folks could trace their family trees back to their ancestors who immigrated from England or Scotland, and knew who fought in which wars. It was very important to know who your "people" were. Almost as much as knowing who other people's "people" were. I agree with Janet's comment on religion. There were no Catholics in my parent's community and only a handful of Jews. WASP was the order of the day due to the immigrants who originally settled the area. I also agree with her comment on different versions of the South.

    My father was a fantastic storyteller. He has passed, but I will leave you with one of my favorite stories from his childhood.
    The man who owned the neighboring farm to my grandfather used to make moonshine. His pigs were notorious for getting out and getting into his mash. It's questionable if they were getting out on their own, or if the neighbor was too drunk to properly pen them up. Anyway, they would always find their way onto my grandfather's property. My dad said that one day he was driving home and coming down the county road were the neighbor's pigs stumblin' drunk, fallin' over and squealin'. My grandfather used to pen them up until his neighbor could come get them. After the third time, my grandfather started charging the neighbor rent for catching and boarding his hogs. True story.

    Dani, I have so enjoyed this discussion. This is the first book club post in which I have participated, but your previous book selections have all been great.

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    1. *where they grew up.

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    2. My parents grew up in Idaho and there was just not segregation there. Then my dad was drafted into the army and off to war where there definitely was no segregation...everyone was treated like dirt. My inlaws, on the other hand, were raised here in Tennessee and racism is deep in their blood. Remember the South still brings up the Civil War.

      Your story made me smile. I recently woke up to two ponies in my yard. Left me with free fertilizer.

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    3. Anon thanks so much for participating and for your excellent and interesting comment. What a story, I can just see it!

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    4. Ha Blue Booby, you mean The War of Northern Aggression. I did not grow up in the South but moved to Virginia (not NoVa) as a young adult. It was a culture shock. The first time someone referred to the WoNA, I truly had no idea what it was. Took me several minutes.

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  16. Hi Dani, what are you reviewing in April? Will try and get on board.

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    1. Hi Carol, that would be great. I have a couple of ideas and I'll try to announce this week!

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  17. I had such a different reading of it this time around. Mayella and her geraniums were just too heartbreaking. Goes to show that a well written novel is really more about the reader than the writer.

    Good choice Dani. And lovely to have your voice back on the web; we've missed you.

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    1. Thanks Jen, and I have to say reading these classic books at different times is a real eye-opener. The things we notice at different stages of our lives, it's very telling.

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  18. Dear Dani, your post and all the comments make me want to get in on the next book. Sadly, I don't find much time for reading now when as a little girl, I used to read everything that had text on it. I need to find the time!

    The title of the book always intrigued me since I've often had that thought (and no, I am not prone to violence!). We used to have a mockingbird come every (yes, every) night approximately 10:30 and loudly exercised its voice nonstop all night long. I used to think "can someone tell me how" when remembering the book title.

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  19. Loved your comment about growing up in a small town. I grew up in a small town too--and I think it does make a difference in how you approach life. I'm sorry I did not have time to reread this book and participate in the fun!

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