To Kill A Mockingbird – Post the First

To Kill A Mockingbird holds a unique place in my literary lineup. It is the only book that has attained the status of read-it-in-english-class-but-actually-enjoyed-and-would-read-for-pleasure. This is a relatively prestigious position and one that warrants recognition and respect. As far as my first impressions are concerned; the book moves at a satisfying pace (fast enough that it has my attention, yet slow enough that it’s not all action). Additionally, our reading style (aka. the usage of empathy maps) really works to enhance the processes that take place as subconsciously analyze characters and evaluate them morally. I was somewhat taken aback with Harper Lee’s choice of a female narrator, as it contrasts with the stereotypical bildungsroman (I swear I’m not using big words sycophantically toward you Mr Heidt) of the time period. Scout’s moral growth serves to bridge a gap that I believe existed between the gender norms of the early 20th century. In this vein, I believe that while the words of (Atticus regarding the development of Scout’s sense of empathy) were well warranted, they may result in further issues further in the story. Specifically, I believe that Scout will encounter issues attempting to “climb into the skin” of a certain other character seeing as she lacks the knowledge of said character’s secret life.
I would next like to draw attention to Calpurnia. She plays a very important role and (I believe) serves to fill the gap left by the absence of the Finch children’s mother. As the novel progresses, it seems that Calpurnia is adapting herself more and more to fit this role. Once a hardened servant, she has now softened and behaves much more like a mother figure. For example, on page 29, Calpurnia tells the children how lonely she is without them being in calling distance. Then she offers to make Scout and Jem a treat and gives Scout a motherly kiss on her way out. All of these actions seem to point to an epiphany that Calpurnia may have had what with the excessive time to think that she must have had with the children out of her hair. I believe that during this time, Calpurnia must have realized how much of a mother figure she already played in the Finch family and she is not truly embracing that family identity.
As far as the most recent discussion was concerned, I believe that we could have done more with the book. I definitely had several things that I could’ve mentioned, but in the spirit of allowing us to grow and keeping space open for those that speak less, I tried to avoid saturating the discussion with too many of my own ideas. I don’t know if everyone shares the same enthusiasm for the book, or if we didn’t adequately prepare for the discussion, but I feel it could’ve gone smoother. However, this is not to say that some valuable points were not raised. As far as the new ideas are concerned, I feel as though (thanks to Mr. Heidt’s catalyzation) several key points were drawn to attention. Firstly, Harper Lee is doing more than just telling a story about moral growth, there has to be some sort of way that the story could be applied to society. I think that Lee is trying to contrast Scout’s moral development with something else (I don’t yet know what). Secondly, while I did not originally realize the weight of Atticus’s position on judgement and how he relays this ideology to Scout. On this I have developed two questions: What effect might Atticus’s employment as a lawyer have on his teachings of judgement, empathy, and sympathy? What specifically in Atticus’s methods of parenting contrasts with the methods of the time period; why might this be? While Atticus is not one of the Characters I was specifically assigned to study, I feel like analysis of his character could help to advance my understanding of the novel as a whole.

And now: a related meme

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