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To Kill a Mockingbird Summary, Book Review, and Quotes

To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic novel of modern American literature. It was written by Harper Lee and was published in 1960. The novel won Pulitzer Prize in 1961. Thus, it was an immediate success. In this write-up, we will give a quick short summary and a review of the novel.

The novel contains 31 chapters and it is divided into two parts; 11 chapters in Part 1 and the remaining 20 chapters in Part 2.

It is an excellent novel with valuable lessons and life-changing quotes.

To Kill a Mockingbird – Summary

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a timeless novel written by Harper Lee that explores themes of racial injustice, innocence, and the loss of childhood innocence in a small Southern town during the 1930s. Set in Maycomb, Alabama, the story is narrated by Scout Finch, a young girl who provides a unique perspective on the events that unfold.

Scout, her older brother Jem, and their friend Dill become fascinated with their reclusive neighbor, Arthur “Boo” Radley.

Boo is the subject of numerous rumors, but the children are determined to see him. Meanwhile, their father, Atticus Finch, a respected lawyer, is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman named Mayella Ewell.

As the trial approaches, Scout and Jem witness the deep-rooted racism and prejudice in their community. Atticus, a morally upright man, believes in the importance of fighting for justice and equality, despite the odds stacked against them.

He strives to teach his children empathy and understanding, urging them to see the world from others’ perspectives.

During the trial, it becomes clear that Tom Robinson is innocent. Atticus presents a strong case in his defense.

However, the deeply ingrained racism of the jury prevails, and Tom is unjustly convicted. This outcome deeply affects Scout and Jem, as they witness the harsh reality of prejudice and the flaws within their society’s legal system.

The children’s curiosity about Boo Radley continues. One night they find themselves in a dangerous situation when Bob Ewell, Mayella’s father, seeks revenge on Atticus for humiliating him during the trial.

Boo Radley emerges from his seclusion to protect Scout and Jem, ultimately saving their lives. Scout finally sees Boo as a kind and misunderstood person, breaking the stereotypes perpetuated by the town.

In the aftermath of these events, Scout reflects on the lessons she has learned about empathy, compassion, and the importance of standing up against injustice.

She gains a deeper understanding of the complexities of the world and the impact of prejudice on individuals and communities.

The novel ends with Scout saying goodbye to Boo Radley and realizing that true courage lies in seeing the world through the eyes of others.

In short, “To Kill a Mockingbird” serves as a powerful critique of racism and discrimination, exposing the ugliness that exists within society. It reminds us of the importance of empathy, tolerance, and justice.

Through Scout’s innocent perspective, the novel urges readers to challenge their own prejudices and strive for a more compassionate and equal world.

Harper Lee’s masterpiece continues to resonate with readers of all generations, reminding us that the pursuit of justice and the preservation of innocence are enduring battles worth fighting for.

Book Review

Like every other reader as they say it; when I started the novel, I found it quite boring. I found it hard to follow the story. In other words, the story took time before it would reveal itself to me. However, in the latter part of the book, it becomes an interesting read.

The novel is mostly narrated in the first person from a child’s perspective ‘Jean Louise (Scout) Finch’. She is an intelligent girl. When the novel starts, she was six years old. However, later on, we find her nine years old. The novel is centered on her.

As I said, the story takes time to reveal itself, it was after reading almost half of the novel that one finds the theme and the storyline. Mostly, readers quit reading this novel because they find it boring in the initial stage. But, this novel is a must-read. It becomes a real pageturner.

To Kill a Mockingbird is banned in many states of America over racism concerns. The main story is about the trial and prosecution of Tom Robinson (a Negro) charged with a rape crime. He was indicted for raping a white girl. But, he was innocent. Overall, the novel depicts the persecution of the colored (black) people at the hands of white.

Atticus Finch is another main character in the novel. He is the father of Scout Finch, the girl that we have talked about above. He is a lawyer who fights the case of Tom Robinson in court. Atticus is a thorough gentleman and an ideal character who inspires the readers. This character is the one prominent reason why one should read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

What makes the novel boring at the start?

The novel fails to hook the attention of the reader at its start. The childhood adventures of the siblings along with Dill (another child character) of making Boo Radley (whom they are afraid of) come out of his house are uninteresting.

Moreover, the first two paragraphs of the novel can only be understood after completing the novel. Even, the starting line of the novel reveals no sense to the reader. To understand it, one has to end the novel.

When he was nearly thirteen my (Scout’s) brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow…

As the story is narrated from the child’s perspective, it slightly appears immature in tone. Moreover, the other characters like Aunt Stephanie Crawford, Walter Cunningham, Reverend Sykes, etc. introduced to us in the novel appear dull and boring.

Lastly, the novel has an unwanted narration of multiple disconnected incidents/events that one might find boring.

What makes the novel interesting?

First and foremost, the novel teaches us multiple life lessons. Especially, the character of Atticus Finch is so refined. He is an ideal father, an ideal lawyer, as well a citizen.

His way of looking at things changes our own perceptions of things. He understands the psyche of people.

Further, he is quite capable of looking at the positive sides in negative circumstances. In short, we have many lessons to learn from his character alone.

Moreover, the trial of Tom Robinson and Atticus’ way of cross-examining the witnesses is interesting. The novel also depicts how blacks are/were treated in America. It shows the racial discrimination in that society.

The novel also introduces us to children’s psychology and their way of looking at things.

What does ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ symbolizes?

A mockingbird is a songbird found mainly in tropical America. It is an innocent bird that does no harm to anyone.

In the novel, the mockingbird mainly symbolizes Tom Robinson (who depicts the situation of negroes in America).

In short, the title of the novel symbolizes the persecution (killing of Tom Robinson) of black people by white in America.

Novel Rating

On Goodreads, the novel is rated as 4.28/5.

On Common Sense Media,  it is rated as 5/5.

I will rate this novel a 3.5/5.

Final Thoughts

This review of To Kill a Mockingbird is based on my personal views and opinion of the novel. I would highly recommend this novel to you. Even if you find it dull and boring in the beginning; you will get hooked to it somehow near its mid.

To Kill A Mockingbird – Favourite Quotes

  • “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
  • “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”
  • “Things are never as bad as they seem.”
  • “You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, and they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.”
  • “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
  • “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
  • “It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”
  • “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something, and don’t you forget it…Whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.”
  • “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
  • “There is just some kind of men who-who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”
  • “People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.”
  • “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.”
  • “The best way to clear the air is to have it all out in the open.”
  • “Are you proud of yourself tonight that you have insulted a total stranger whose circumstances you know nothing about?”

You can buy “To Kill A Mockingbird” from Amazon

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A versatile human being with a passion for reading and writing - always striving for growth, living in the moment but trying to keep pace with the evolving world.

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