Why is To Kill a Mockingbird a classic?

To Kill a Mockingbird is a literary classic for many reasons, including its universal and enduring themes, its memorable characters, and its skillful and unique narrative voice.

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There is no set formula for a classic work of literature and, at a time when the concept of a literary canon is often disputed, little agreement on what the word "classic" means. However, there are certain books that are widely recognized as classics, and they have certain qualities in...

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There is no set formula for a classic work of literature and, at a time when the concept of a literary canon is often disputed, little agreement on what the word "classic" means. However, there are certain books that are widely recognized as classics, and they have certain qualities in common.

One mark of a classic is that it tackles important and universal themes. To Kill a Mockingbird certainly qualifies in this respect. Themes of the book include guilt and innocence, prejudice (specifically racial prejudice in the American South), and how people ought to treat each other and live together as opposed to how they actually do.

Classics should also include memorable characters who inhabit the reader's mind long after they have finished the book. Atticus Finch is a character many people remember for a lifetime as they recall and quote the moral lessons he shares with Scout and Jem. However, there are many other unforgettable minor characters, such as Mrs. Dubose and the Cunninghams, who make the town of Maycomb come alive.

Finally, a classic must be skilfully written. Harper Lee finds a remarkable narrative voice in Scout, a believable child who manages to convey the complexities of the issues addressed in the novel and the society she inhabits, in all its pathos and absurdity.

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