Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, in a small town Monroeville in the state of Alabama. She was the youngest child in the family of a newspaper editor and a housewife. She was only five years old when nine black men were accused of rape. The so-called offenders, which had been cruelly humiliated until the trial started, were provided with a barrister only when the trial began. In spite of the conclusion made by medical examination, which stated that women were not raped, the jury recognized the blacks guilty. It is essential to mention that the jury consisted only of the white race representatives. All the men were sentenced to death except for the youngest one who was only thirteen. During the next six years, this accusation was canceled and almost all the accused blacks were released. Young Harper Lee was greatly impressed by the trial. Many years later she used it as a foundation for her work To Kill a Mockingbird. The book is considered to be autobiographical as the girl depicted looks like young Harper Lee. However, Lee denies the fact of writing an autobiography, notwithstanding that there are many similarities between the life of the main hero and young Harper. Thus she pursued other goals by writing her book (The Big Read: To Kill a Mockingbird (About the Author).).
This book is about many essential things: kindness, humanity, racial prejudices. This is the story about history in a global sense, which represents the most important characteristics of the Great Depression time. To kill a Mockingbird is the novel about people’s tricks. In it, Harper Lee showed the events, which happened in the 1930s in Alabama State, where she was born. Actually, the novel is eyewitness testimony, and this is the reason why it was included in the school’s program. In 1862 the slavery was officially abolished in the USA. However, from the book, we can learn that it was not the end of it. During a hundred years after the abolishment, nobody treated it seriously. In the North, there were satisfactory conditions for blacks, while in the South they were still repressed. They could be clever, intelligent famous, outstanding, but still were considered to be second-grade. Undoubtedly, there are some people in the USA, who can be called “racists” but there are many common racists. They always feel a black presenting nearby and always emphasize that there is a black among there friends. This is common racism. It is not criticized in society, but people still consider themselves to be different. People will always be different, but only the color of the skin is the most injudicious for the recognition of the difference. The color of skin should not mean anything in the USA, where the ancestors of slaves are the children of European immigrants. They are the people with the same temperament and traditions. Lee emphasizes that the formation of the attitude towards each other happens in childhood.
The central event in the book is the trial over the black man depicted by the eyewitness Harper Lee. She described this event very thoroughly emphasizing the lack of prospects. The defender knows from the very beginning that he will fail the case no matter how zealously the author may try to convince the reader in the nobility of a humiliated person. The jury is considered to be the supreme achievement of democracy and simply can’t be wrong. It is not very easy to prove that “black” is “white”. Actually, Harper Lee did not try to prove this – she gave this mission to Atticus who was the lawyer of the black man. But the way she composed her story, the childish perception of that world, that time and that America makes readers respect and like her. She depicted the unvarnished truth of the adult world polluted with the mass of traditional and racial prejudices as she saw it in her childhood. Her novel provided the opportunity to look at the adults’ perception through the prism of the pure and free of prejudices the child’s perception. Prejudices are killing humanity. The child’s perception successfully exposes the pretense and foolishness (The Big Read: To Kill a Mockingbird (About the Author)).
“To Kill a Mocking Bird” is the book that should be read by every person. It informs about the fact that despite the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, racial prejudices did not vanish, on the contrary, they were strengthened. Moreover, they still represent a serious and unresolved problem for the state.
National Endowment of the Arts. “The Big Read: To Kill a Mockingbird (About the Author).” National Endowment of the Arts, 2006.