Tuesday, December 11, 2012

To Kill a Mockingbird

It was our turn to host Ellie's book club in November.  She chose to read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  She had recently read it for a book report for school and LOVED it!  She and her fellow book club attendees are in fifth and sixth grade so I worried that the subject matter might be a little bit too rough for them.  I was wrong.  The girls that came to discuss the book that night loved it as much as Ellie and I do.

We discussed 4 lessons of the book (as found here)-

1.  put yourself in other person's shoes
2.  don't kill mockingbirds (hurt those that are vulnerable or weaker than you)
3.  keep fighting even if you know you'll lose
4.  the world is very unfair

The girls each shared different parts of the book that they felt related to these lessons.  Some of our favorites were:

When Scout and Jem learn that their dad, Atticus, is the best shot in the town.  They didn't even know he had ever shot a gun (is that an exaggeration?)  and were shocked when he was selected to save the town from a rabid dog.

The story of Mrs. Dubose.  She was so mean to Scout and Jem and said disgraceful things about Atticus.  Jem had finally lost it and destroyed some plants in her yard.  Atticus sent Jem back to appologize and then an agreement was made that Jem would read to Mrs. Dubose after school.  That story of compassion and forgiveness is beautiful.  Atticus later said of the experience,

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.  It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.  You rarely win, but sometimes you do.  Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her.  According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody.  She was the bravest person I ever knew."

He said those wonderful words of a woman who had judged him---yet he saw her from her perspective...in her shoes.  Instead of seeing meanness he saw bravery.  He taught his children the same.

There are so many wonderful lessons in this book.  We can find as much pain, misery and hatred in the world...that we want to find.  But as I listened to these 10 and 11 year olds discuss what To Kill A Mockingbird has taught them, I was reminded of how much good there is in the world.  Standing up for what you believe in, protecting those more innocent than you and trying to put yourself in another person's shoes were lessons that penetrated into all of our hearts...

lessons that weren't new...
but just remembered...


Misty said...

I remember loving that book. It has stuck with me since reading it in 7th grade. I need to read it again! There's not much better than a good book.

Tebbs Family said...

Great book--great photo (and she has your great sense of fashion style...)

Parvati Devi said...

Great book...one of my favorites to teach!

Alison said...

My boys love that book too!