Rereading a Classic: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee 

Anytime I reread a classic literature, I always feel this brand new appreciation for what it stands for. This book, in particular showed me how great it is to live in a world where a person of different colour can be a leader of a powerful nation. Or that we are  not  automatically guilty of a crime because of the colour of our skin. Unfortunately, the world is not entirely free of racial prejudice. Sad to say that the theme of this book is still relevant in this present time. We made some great strides, but unfortunately, we’ve bought ourselves different sets of racial prejudices.

It’s been years since I read this book, and believe it or not, I have not seen the movie. Harper Lee wrote this back in 1960, loosely based on a particular event that happened in her hometown when she was but a child.  Growing up in the deep South also gave her a front-row perspective to the themes of this book. One that showed differing opinions about the race issue at the time. I can’t put into words the severity of that division, though.

It was a story about a black man accused of rape; and because of the colour of his skin, had no chance of getting acquitted. Regardless of whether or not he was up against the degenerate of the society, Tom Robinson did not have a prayer to save himself. Atticus Finch will try, anyway.

It’s not light reading by any stretch of imagination but Ms. Lee cleverly infused it with warmth and humour. It’s a Southern Gothic at its core, ensconced in the lazy beauty of small town living. Scout and her brother Jem were both inquisitive and accepting for kids their age – both traits attributed to their upbringing.

No matter how Ms. Lee painted Atticus in Go Set a Watchman, he’ll forever remain one of the great father figures in Literature.

  • I have been hearing that Atticus’s character in this new book is quite different than in this one. I did like this story well enough and as always, I am so happy when I see someone appreciate a classic so much. Especially as there are many YA readers who don’t like classics as much these days.

  • Gorgeous post Joy 🙂 Thank you for sharing about this book. <3 I have not read this book before.. I'm not sure if the plot is for me : But I am curious. And so thrilled that you like it a lot 😀

  • I read this in high school and of course saw the movie back then and probably a few times after that. And the play more recently. I don’t tend to re-read classics, although I did read The Diary of Anne Frank about 5 times when I was young. I am glad you enjoyed it all over again 🙂

    • That’s one book I haven’t read. I really should, though.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the those classics that I really should read. I always just assumed I would read it in high school but somehow I never ended being required to, much like a couple other prominent books *cough*EndersGame*cough*. At some point I’m gonna’ need to read up on a bunch of classics.
    (fatalerrer of No Book Unread)

    • I don’t do classics nearly as much as I want to, but this one was one of those books whose popularity precedes its title. Kinda weird I haven’t watched the movie, though.

  • I reread this one a few months ago to get ready for the sequel. I loved it even more than I did years ago when I first read it. I have never seen the movie either!

    • I just love Scout. Scout is who I want to be when I grow up. lol. I planned on watching the film sooner than later!

  • RO

    Remember reading this as a kid. I see that Harper Lee wrote the sequel, “Go Set a Watchman” which was recently found, and tells the story of Scout returning to Alabama in the 1950’s, 55 years later, and plan to add it to the shelf. Will this be as good as To Kill a Mockingbird? Only time will tell.

    • Still trying to psych myself up to reading Go Set a Watchman. I should also stop reading reviews of it. Sigh.

  • I haven’t read this *hangs head in shame* I know I should especially as it’s not like Dickens or any of those oldies that makes me sleepy before I even finish the first chapter.

    • Don’t be ashamed. Never be ashamed of what you’ve read and haven’t read. 🙂 Yes, this took an effortless reading on my part. So maybe you’ll enjoy it, too. 🙂

  • Jazmen

    This is one of those books I had to read because it was required of me and now I’m just like do I really need to read and pay attention to it–now that I’m older. I’m still thinking no but I’m definitely intrigued to see what you think of GSAW.

    • I hope to read it soon. Just worried about all the spoilers floating around out there.

  • I have never read this book, but you certainly have me curious about it. It sounds like an emotional and difficult journey.

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

  • Have you read Go Set A Watchman yet Joy? I have read To Kill A Mockingbird, but it was when I was young and didn’t really understand what was going on, so a reread will happen soon!

    • I haven’t, Val. I plan to read it soon. I’m just worried that I might look at the characters differently this time. Eeep.

  • What a wonderful review, Joy. I’ve been meaning to read this book for the longest time. I’m glad you love it so much. ♡

  • I’m actually reading this at the moment as I got it sent to review and I’ve fallen in love with it. The racism and prejudice is heart-wrenching and upon reading it, I came to the realisation of how much more accepting the world is and how great that is for people who are now treated with respect that would’ve been treated terribly in the past. I’m really excited to read the sequel!

    • It is sad, isn’t it? As much as we’re more accepting of a lot of racial prejudices at the time, we’ve still got a long way to go.

  • Hmm, I read this because I had to in high school, and those sort of reads are ones that make me not want to read classics.

    • Lol. I feel the same way about assigned readings.

  • That is so true what you said about re-reading classics. I feel like every time I re-read my favorite, Jane Eyre, I discover new details that I didn’t before. It’s never the same experience.
    This one has always been such a powerful read, but I’m a little hesitant about Go Set a Watchman with all the craze that’s going on lately.

    • Me too, Nick. Me too. Mostly, I just don’t want to love them any less, in case they’ve gotten a personality facelift.

  • This is one of my all time favorite books. I read it first in college and it was just such a powerful read. I’ve read it again several times since. I’m reluctant to read Go Set a Watchman because I’m just afraid it’s going to ruin it for me. :/ I’ll probably read it at some point but not just yet. 0

    • That’s what I’m afraid of as well. Mostly, I’m reluctant to see these characters in a different light.

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark


    It’s been forever since I’ve read this book, Joy. I remember writing a paper on it sophomore year of high school and that was definitely the first and last time I’ve picked it up even though I absolutely loved it. I think it’s past time I picked up Atticus again!

    • Yay! It only took me a long time to figure it out. Lol.

  • Why don’t I read classics?! I really need to. Yes, I probably read this in school at some point, but I honestly don’t remember it AT ALL! I didn’t love books back then like I do now. At least not that type of book. I really need to go back and re-read the books I read when I was younger that I didn’t really appreciate at the time.

    • I must admit, I don’t read too many classics as much as I’d like to as well. If it weren’t for the sequel, I probably wouldn’t have revisited this one. 🙂

  • I remember when I was in high school, I think year 9 or 10, I was so annoyed we weren’t going to be studying To Kill A Mockingbird (I thought it was a sure thing, but nooooo, no classics for us) so I went to the library, borrowed it, read it and was struck by how relevant it still was. However I don’t remember a single thing about it these days. Luckily I bought myself a copy not too long ago, I plan to re-read it after I’ve read Go Set A Watchman 🙂

    • You’re lucky that you don’t live in a place where they banned this book. Can you believe it?

  • ChristinaBookAddict

    I re-read it a few years ago and I thought it was still as powerful as when I first read it in middle school. You should definitely see the movie now! It’s fantastic!

    • I’m really looking forward to watching the movie. I think it’s high time. 🙂

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    The fact that this is still relevant today (and it most certainly is) is completely devastating to me. I should probably reread soon too. As for the sequel, i’m honestly not sure how I feel about it and I’m still not sure whether or not I want to read it at all.

    • I’m just going to dive in one of these days. The spoilers are just disheartening. :/

  • kindlemom1

    I love that you re-read this and loved it. It has been years, maybe decades since I read it. I really should read it again since I just faintly remember it.

    • Great! I hope you’ll love it as much as you did then.

  • I am embarrassed to say that I haven’t read this great classic yet. I keep meaning too, but somehow modern books just get in the way. It is really sad that over 50 years along, racism is still such an issue in the world. Well, it is 21 years since South Africa got equality…yet, racism still continues and what is worse it is often reverse racism now and I can’t blame them, because that is the example that was set…maybe in another 50 years finally racism will be irradicated.

    • I know what you mean when you say ‘reverse racism’ but that term never sat well with me. There’s nothing really reverse about it; racism isn’t based on who is being biased, only on the fact that there IS a racial bias. I agree though, you can’t really blame their anger.

      • I agree, John. Racism is racism, no matter which way you look at it.

    • Isn’t it sad when the rights of the people who are native to the land somehow diminished as years progressed? A perfect world would be one free from all kinds of prejudice. That’s what I hope for my kids.

  • I have never read it

    • Oh well. It’s mostly required reading in schools. I grew up in the Philippines and they didn’t have this book in the school curriculum, either.

  • Melliane

    Hmmm I don’t think I knew about this one I confess. The name of the author doesn’t ring a bell but maybe I should look for a French title

    • This is an American modern classic, so I’m not surprise if some parts of the world haven’t heard of this book. 🙂