Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rachel and Megan Ramble About To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
From Goodreads: The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

Rachel: So I read a book for school. And one way to make me hate a book is to force me to read it, which is why I usually have mixed feelings about said book. The book Megan and I read in our ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL Freshman English class is To Kill A Mockingbird. We have varying opinions of this novel, so we're going to analyze the hell out of our feelings and things in a completely unprofessional way that has nothing to do with essays or assignments or school or anything.

Megan: YES. Personally I think our English class should be like this anyway. Just express our feelings in completely irrational ways without essays and all of that crap. Because all of that ruins books for me. I really hate when we're reading a book and my teacher keeps saying, "Look! Similie! Metaphor! Great Figurative Language!" I'm pretty sure you aren't supposed to read books like that. BUT ANYWAY. Enough about the suckishness of school. On to the book! It's one of the first books I think you and I have ever disagreed on!

Rachel: It seems you have no appreciation for Good American Literature. I really liked this book. The whole part about it being written from a second-grader's point of view was definitely weird at first, but I grew to love Scout as a main character. And all the history! And the life lessons! I feel so smart after reading this book. Also: ATTICUS IS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER. HE IS SO AWESOME.

Megan: I liked Atticus a lot! I didn't hate this book, there were definitely some things that annoyed me though. In the beginning Scout's voice was hard to follow because she tried to explain everything at once. But I did get used to it by the end of the book. I did also like the lessons that Atticus taught Scout throughout the book, and they were really relevant to the story and time period. I liked the second half of the book much better though. The first half was rough for me to get through.

Rachel: Yeah, I mean the book was definitely boring at times. Because, you know, it's an English Class Book, with Hidden Meanings That The Author May Or May Not Have Even Meant that we have to discuss at length and whatever. Naturally, these kind of books aren't always exciting. But once it got to the trial, everything was so interesting and I couldn't put the book down.

Megan: Yeah I liked that part much better than the beginning. The whole trial was really interesting and I liked that you found out all of these hidden things about the characters in the second half of the book. This was one of those books that you really had to get past the beginning in order to start to like it. I thought the ending was pretty good too, and it was surprising.

Rachel: Oh, Boo Radley! *hugs* (On a side note, I think we can definitely use this conversation for some kind of essay/project/assignment thing in school.)

Megan: I loved Boo! I felt bad for him throughout the whole book. I'm a big believer in the Leave the Poor Guy Alone He Just Wants A Friend thing. (Also I think this is a brilliant idea. Our teachers would be so proud)

Rachel: Oh and Jem? I am really not a fan of him. In fact, I hate him. SORRY JEM! This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because obviously I'm having strong feelings about the characters, which is good. But seriously. What an obnoxious and annoying boy. I mean, he has some redeeming moments, but for the most part he just annoys me.

Megan: Hahaha oh I know! He was just so annoying. He spent the entire book like "oh I'm too good to hang out with my little sister. I'm a MAN now so I know best!" Idk I just didn't like him at all. I did like Miss Maudie though, even if I couldn't keep all of the neighbors straight.

Rachel: I know. There were A LOT of characters in this book that were really hard to keep track of. I just want to point out again that ATTICUS IS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER. Seriously. He's the best ever.

Megan: *scrolls up* I feel like you said that already. *points* BUT OH WELL. He is really awesome! Also: Dill Harris. I love that kid.

Rachel: Hahaha, yeah. I wish I had a Dill when I was little. He's awesome.

Megan: He is like the ultimate best friend for a little kid.

Rachel: So in conclusion! Atticus is THE BEST EVER, Dill is pretty awesome too, Jem is annoying, we hate our English class, this book was pretty good. Were you forced to read this in school too? Tell us all of your feelings about everything ever what you thought of To Kill A Mockingbird!


  1. Ha, I love this. Weighing in from the other side of the, uh, chalkboard...I love hearing stuff like this from my students. I had one English teacher (but only one...out of four) who got really into conversations like this with me, and let me rant and rave about hating Flannery O'Connor short stories, but he also pushed me to do the writing and analysis stuff. And ultimately I'm glad he did...not because I sit around writing literary analysis essays on the weekends or anything, but because he trained my brain to quietly register stuff about character and setting and symbolism that I don't even realize until I am having a conversation like you guys just did and something pops out of my mouth that makes me go, "Wait...what?!?" And suddenly I have some crazy epiphany that makes me love the book more.

    But when I read this in Freshman English? Well, I was just glad it wasn't A Separate Peace, which bored me out of my mind, or Huckleberry Finn, which I couldn't get through because of the dialect, or Lord of the Flies, which I found gross and boring, somehow at the same time. I liked TKAM well enough then; now, I love it like I love Little Women. At the risk of sounding unbearably teacher-y, try this one again in ten years. That's about how long it took me before I loved it.

    1. I haven't had good luck with English teachers in the past few years, which is really disappointing. I keep waiting for the day when I'll love English class (reading and writing! my favorite things!) but between my classmates and teachers...that day has yet to come. :D

      I'm sure that if I were to read this again, I would like it a lot more. I mean, I enjoyed it the first time, but I think the classroom discussions with a bunch of kids who never bothered reading the book ruined it for me a little bit. *sighs* I love my classmates. No really, I do.

  2. We had to read this in my 10th grade English class and while I didn't hate it, it definitely wasn't my favorite book or anything. I'm not a fan of being forced to read a book and I'm also really not a fan of the classics (yes, I know that sounds kind of lame, but that's okay) so I kind of figured I wouldn't care for it all that much going into it. I have to say, though out of the three books I was forced to read in HS, this was my favorite. (The other two were Night and Romeo & Juliet)