I think this is my all-time favorite book. I grew up in an in-between era. I was born after the Civil Rights movement but with people who were still unaware of their racism and prejudices. It took a long time, and many corrections, for my mother to stop referring to "her black friend." I think To Kill A Mockingbird really exemplifies things that are still wrong with society today - where skin color makes a difference in every facet of life...but no one will admit it. Much of our society likes to think we are in a post-racial society, but we're not. Not really.
How do I know this? Well, I belong to a political discussion group on FB - it's comprised of a mixture of people with different ages, races, education and income levels, and views. Mostly we keep things cordial, but discussions about race come up a lot. When you have Ivy League educated professionals discussing how race still affects their everyday lives, we are not post-racial.
In recent days, there have apparently been some interesting trending topics on Twitter - one is #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen - and is in regards to the way the feminist movement excludes women of color. Here's the story if you're interested. A related topic is #blackpowerisforblackmen which outlines the misogyny and racism within the black community itself. I'm not a user of Twitter, but this sort of thing appeals - you can join in the stream of conversation. Or you can, after the heat of the moment has passed, return to the conversation and see if you see yourself there. Either way, I think these topics started some conversations, and that's progress.
But back to the book. In addition to just being a good story with really well-written characters who feel like family, there are so many different messages in To Kill A Mockingbird. There is the obvious racial theme. There is the theme of white privilege. There is the theme of the underdog. There is the theme of familial abuse. There is the theme of familial love and loyalty. There is the theme of living an unconventional life.
For me, I think the most important theme. the one that has stuck with me, is the theme of standing up for what's right, no matter the personal cost. Most days, I'm not sure that I have the strength of character to always do what's right. Other days, I'm confronted with the choice, and fortunately, so far, I've mostly chosen the right path, rather than the easy one.
I guess that's my question, then - which theme/message stuck with you the most, and why?
After you answer my question, please click over to read the rest of the book club questions for To Kill a Mockingbird. You can get your own copy of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee at bookstores including Amazon.
*Side note: Because I transferred high schools between my sophomore and junior years, I was able to use To Kill A Mockingbird for class assignments 3 years running. Maybe that's why I love the book so much.