I was reading an article on one of the State’s newspaper’s website and came across a blog about why “To Kill a Mockingbird” was still relevant. Ironically enough, I loved this book when I read it over 20 years ago and still love it to this day and was thinking a lot about it lately. My kids loved it too. We read it with Em and we talked about Boo, Jem and Scout. We talked about the tough role Atticus had as a single father. We talked about the surface cultural references.
Today though, I really thought about something that the blog in the newspaper had written. It was asking why people love (or hate) the book. It also posed the question as to why people are drawn to the Finch family. To read that article: Book Club: ‘Mockingbird’ still a powerful literary presence
My love with the Finch family and the book stems from the real nature that the characters had. They had flaws. They had imperfections. They were attainable and real. I could relate to each character at some point in my life.
The character that stands out to me lately though isn’t Scout or Jem or Boo. It’s Atticus. Here was a good man. Doing his best to live his life and raise his family the best way he knew how. A man who was watching his community succumb to the pressures of that generation. Atticus appears to be a “good” person that is being true to his nature in doing his best to provide a fair defense in trial for someone deemed less than desirable in the eyes of people around him. He even defends his choice to his family when they question all the hostility. Even though he’s in a lose-lose situation he stands his ground.
One of my favorite quotes is:
“If you learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You’ll never understand a person until you consider things from his point of view –until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
— Atticus Finch, from “To Kill a Mockingbird”
I’ve tried to look at this from his viewpoint and wonder how many times he felt overwhelmed by the sheer weight of his choices to go against the flow and stand his ground and be true to himself. How he was the outcast of society and people either loved him or hated him, but they respected him for the most part. They learned that he had principles and a line in the sand that he wouldn’t cross.
I can relate to the being who I am and not changing for anyone. I am who I am. I love with my whole heart. I embrace everyone equally. And I hope that Matt and I are teaching our children to be that way. It’s not the easy way. It’s the honest way. You’ll always know where you stand with us because we’ll tell you.
In the meantime, know we love ya! And don’t ANY of you change for anyone unless you find that it will better who you are.