This year is the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird. Even though times have changed quite a bit from the 1930s to the present day it still remains a timeless classic. One may wonder why it still remains beloved by young and old. What is it in To Kill a Mocking bird that still speaks to us so powerfully today? Perhaps it is the quality of Atticuss attitude throughout the novel. The childlike fantasies between right and wrong or the concept of society and how it is a sin to kill a mockingbird.
Atticus Finch is a lawyer from the small southern town of Maycomb, Alabama. He is asked to defend a Negro by the name of Tom Robison who has been accused of beating and raping Miss Mayella Ewell. Atticus accepts and soon people start calling him a nigger-lover. Throughout the entire novel Atticus is determined to do a good job defending Tom. He tells Scout, his daughter, to not fight anyone that says anything bad about him defending Tom. He tells her that he must argue it to uphold his sense of justice and self-respect. When she asks if he should not be defending him then why is he, he replys For a number of reasons. The main one is, if I didnt I couldnt hold my head up in town, I couldnt represent this county in the legislature, and I couldnt tell you or Jem not to do something again. (pg. 100) it is said in the novel that Atticus acts the same in public as he does in his own house, meaning that he acts no different in the public eye than he does behind a closed door. Throughout the novel he never changes his attitude. He always plans to defend Tom the best he can and set his goal on winning. He even goes as far as sitting outside Toms jail cell to protect him from a mob. He believes in justice and the law.
The child like fantasies of right and wrong are portrayed throughout To Kill a Mockingbird through Jem and Scout. For example, when Atticus is protecting Tom, outside the county jail, Scout runs up when the mob is closing in on Atticus. She recognizes one of the men, Walter Cunningham and began talking to him about his son. Later Atticus says, So it took an eight-year-old child to bring em to their senses didnt it? That proves something-that a gang of wild animal can be stopped, simply because theyre still human. (pg.210) This here shows that even though Scout is eight years old she knows that the situation is all wrong. Just because a man is colored doesnt mean that he is no different than the person that is standing beside him. Another example is when Tom gets convicted guilty. Jem thinks they have it in the bag and won, but when the verdict is read he begins to cry saying, It aint right. (pg.284) Even Jem who is a mere child knows that the situation going on is wrong. Society can be caught up in the ways of what society believes so be right, and sometimes all it takes is a child to show what is truly just and right.
Sin according to Wikipedia is Sin, in religion, is an act that violates a known moral rule. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Commonly, the moral code of conduct is decreed by a divine entity, i.e. divine law. Sin may also refer to refraining from action or simply desiring to act in violation of a moral norm. Fundamentally, sin is rebellion against, or resistance to, the direction of supreme authority, and enmity toward, avoidance of, or hatred of the good. Sin may also refer to something within human nature that has a proclivity to sin. In To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus tells the children, Id rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, I know youll go after the birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but to remember its a sin to kill a mockingbird. (pg. 119) Later Miss Maudie, their next door neighbor, explains that it is a sin because you would be killing something that makes music for us to enjoy and doesnt bother people. Later in the novel, Scout truly grasps the meaning of this. When Bob Ewell was trying to kill Jem and Scout, Boo Radley stopped and killed him. Later when Atticus and the sheriff are discussing the stabbing Scout says, Well, itd be sort of like shootin a mockingbird, wouldnt it? (pg.370) She was referring to if spot light was brought on Boo it would be like killing a mockingbird. Disturbing the silence and bringing light to something that should remain hidden. Here the killing of a mockingbird is related back to society in which some things are better kept in the dark.
All in all, To Kill a Mockingbird is a timeless classic that will capture the readers heart. Even though we as a country have advanced technically and socially Harper Lees To Kill a Mockingbird still remains at the top of the list. Atticuss strong attitude, the childlike fantasies of right and wrong, and concept of society and how it is a sin to kill a mockingbird are all portrayed throughout the novel.