To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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Would you recommend Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird to others? 

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This question can ultimately only be answered by you, which is what your teacher expects, I'm sure. In order to help you make that decision, perhaps it would be beneficial to look at some criteria which might help you make your decision. Recommending a piece of literature to someone else depends on many things, including the person to whom you are making the recommendation and whether you have determined the book has value worth sharing.

The person to whom you are recommending the book must be old enough to read and comprehend the text, of course. An extra consideration in To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, are the elements of racism and rape. While there is nothing too graphic in the writing, Tom Robinson's trial is about rape. The use of the "N-word" by even children can be rather shocking, as well.

These elements must be weighed against the value the novel might have for a reader. Atticus Finch is wise and shares his wisdom with his children (and of course the readers get to hear it, too). For example, he believes that "you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." This is a lesson which, presumably, everyone can benefit from learning and remembering. 

In short, whether or not you choose to recommend this novel to someone else depends on factors such as who the person is and whether or not you value the lessons taught in the novel. 

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Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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To Kill a Mockingbird, like many novels, is a work of art.  As such, whether one enjoyed it enough to recommend to others is entirely subjective.  Harper Lee's novel of racism and family in the American South, however, is justifiably considered a classic of American literature, and one that this educator would unhesitatingly recommend to other readers, especially to teenagers, the primary audience for this novel.

Lee's novel presents both the good and the bad in American society.  Atticus Finch represents all that is good and decent.  Boo Radley represents the misunderstood socially-isolated individuals who are frequently disliked and feared solely on the basis of their isolation from the rest of society.  Scout is the innocent but intelligent and observant child through whose eyes we view her world, and Tom Robinson the oppressed and victimized minority around whose criminal case much of the story evolves.  The "bad" are those who ostracize Boo and who condemn an innocent man, Tom, to a lifetime in prison (and who dies "trying to escape" his unjust imprisonment) despite the obviousness of his innocence.  

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the finest American novels ever written, and it deserves to be read by generations to come.  Its portrayal of life in the American South is both poignant and painful, and one that should be remembered in literature like that by Harper Lee.

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