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I find that of all the novels I teach, To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the most well-received by the students. I think that the simplicity of the lesson it teaches, combined with Lee's masterful construction of Scout as an adult narrator, allows readers to learn the lessons Scout learns much in the same way that she learns them. I do agree that the novel's content seems a bit idealistic, but I think Atticus's character is so loved and respected that readers are willing to see past this issue. 9!
There is a certain unrealistic/overly idealistic tone to the novel. Atticus is perhaps just a bit too perfect to be intriguing, such dramatic racial injustice is not a common occurrence in our time (though I wish I could say it never happens, it just isn't true), and Scout is certainly an overly precocious 8-year-old. That being said, I still give it a TEN!
The novel generally applauds and rewards good and civilized behavior, but it neither glorifies nor villifies ugly and ignorant behavior. The characters aren't particularly complex, but there is a rich assortment of interesting and even humorous characters who add to the flavor of the piece. It stands for that which is good and right and just in the face of prejudice and ignorance and hate.
Though perhaps not toally realistic or believable, it is a picture of the kind of person we'd all like to be--someone who stands strong and does what's right in the face of pressure and adversity.
As a novel for ninth graders it is excellent since it is a bildungsroman. Students enjoy the interesting characters and the segmentation is something many like, whereas mature readers are disturbed by it, especially the alteration in voice--thank you, Truman Capote. Certainly, there are many moral lessons to be learned from this novel. For students - Rating-10.
For mature readers, the novel may seem too idealistic. According to many current and recently past Southern Alabama residents, Atticus Finch as the son of land gentry from Alabama in the 1930s certainly lacks verisimiltude. However, other characters are very typical of residents of small towns in the South. The characterization is interesting, clever, and humorous at times, making the reading a pleasurable experience.
I give TKAM a 10 for its dry humor, realistic portrayal of historic events and human sentiment, and likeable characters.
Yangyang, I like your scale.
I'm going with a 5. Perhaps this is because I never read the book until I was an adult. Post #2 says she loves it because even children can get it. To me, it is just too preachy/obvious. It's like going to diversity training. (And I'm only half white so don't accuse me of hating minorities.)
Since To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite novels, I have to give it a "10" rating. Some reasons for my love of the book include:
- ATTICUS FINCH. Atticus is one of the most honorable characters in all literature. Author Harper Lee has drawn a highly realistic character with a moral consciousness that real-life human beings aspire to attain.
- BOB EWELL. Bob is one of the most scurrilous characters in Southern literature: a drunken, lying racist who cares nothing about his family; a man who is willing to see an innocent man jailed and executed; a man who beats his daughter (and may be having sexual relations with her as well); and a man ready and willing to kill innocent children as payback for their father's uncovering of the truth in the Tom Robinson trial.
- SCOUT, THE NARRATOR. Lee's choice to use Scout as the narrator retelling the story from a later perspective is an excellent one and superbly written.
- THE REALISTIC DEEP SOUTH. Lee has drawn an accurate picture of life in a small Alabama town as it would have been in the 1930s. The dialogue and colloquial usage is excellent.
- THE MYSTERIOUS BOO. Rarely has such an important character been made to wait until the final chapters of a novel before he makes his first appearance. Boo has but one line, but the mystery builds from the opening chapter in part because he is unseen and unheard until the end.
- THE COURTROOM SCENE DURING THE TRIAL OF TOM ROBINSON. Suspenseful and superbly constructed, it is one of the finest of its kind in all literature.
Honestly, after teaching many different novels and types... To Kill a Mockingbird is still my favorite novel in the world. I would have to actually give it a ten.
1. Children can understand it. They may not get the concept of rape quite yet, but they get the idea of a crazy haunted house like Boo Radley's. They may not understand hypocrisy, but they get unfairness. Thus people of all ages can somehow relate to the novel.=
2. It intertwines two great storylines: the story of Boo Radley, bad guy or good guy; and the case of Ewells vs. Tom Robinson. Each of these concern the Finch family, but not directly, so Scout's perspective is from the outside. However, her child voice makes it so real!
3. Anyone can learn from this novel. There are great themes in here: Appearances aren't what they seem. Tolerance is necessary and important. Seemingly Christian people can be incredibly hypocritical.
I am not sure if you have an assignment or are conducting research, but I hope you at your age saw some of the same great features in this one.
I would give To Kill a Mockingbird a 9. It was easy to read and understand, I liked the humor, and it was one of the books in high school that I actually enjoyed reading.
I would give TKAM (To Kill a Mockingbird) a 8
I have to explain my rating system first. Everyone rates books based on different opinions and views. I rate books by how I feel about them.
1= reads just the opening chapters of the book due to boredom or other things
3= hates book but manages to finish
5= has special memory of the book (neutral)
8= memorable characters, motivating and engaging story. Good plot line, well thought out
10= life changing, opens mind, creates ah-ha moment, remembers forever
To Kill a Mockingbird hasn't change my life dramatically so I rate it an 8. I appreciate the quality of the novel.
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