Saturday, September 26, 2009

Banned Books Week: To Kill a Mockingbird

I'm reposting this entry I wrote awhile back because To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most challenged books out of 100 on the banned books list. I was incredibly lucky... I went to a school district where we stood tall and proud during the Banned Books Week with all of the Banned Books (that the school had available) on display in the school libraries. We read a lot of nitty gritty books that we really weren't allowed to read and I thank my English teachers each time I reflect over these great books. Without them, I might not have had the chance to read these books. I love this book now and forever. I'm so glad to own a copy of it and urge everyone who is looking to read a classic to pick this book up.

The book is listed at number 40 on the American Library Associations 100 most frequently challenged book list. It has been banned from schools because of the themes of racism, cursing, and rape that are brought fourth and broadcasted in the book.
This novel I read when I was in High School. I recall all the assignments we used to receive in high school and how uninterested I was in each and every one of them. To be forced to read books that are predetermined by other people was like pulling teeth for me. I want to find a book and read it because of my own interest- not because someone else thinks I should. Even if the book was a decent read I would end up despising it and dragging my way through each chapter with very little interest. A number of these books I've begun to reread on my own since I've left school and to my surprise I've enjoyed them.

To Kill a Mockingbird is not one of these books... because I enjoyed it the very first time I read it in High School. After I graduated I found a copy of the book- with the same cover as the one I read in High School- on sale so I picked it up. I read the book and loved each moment of it.

Rereading it brought me back to hazy summer days and the scent of the south that I've experienced in past travels. The prejudices against African Americans is of course incredibly prominent in the book but there are also the more subtle prejudices in the book directed towards different social classes and women.

In the that particular time period this was common and sometimes it's easy to forget what life was like 80 years ago. How are we to remember when we did not live it ourselves?

But in many ways the prejudices still exist. There are still some people who look down their noses at black people, women, or people of a lower class. Many things have changed, such as schools and the way life was generally lived, but at times that old thought process is still evident in the world in large frightening very vibrant ways.

Sometimes, Boo Radley had the right idea in mind. To hide away from the world and all of the scary things it involves.

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