The book tells us what we want to believe about ourselves as a nation.
Because the story is set in the Jim Crow South, it’s nothing short of heroic that Atticus is so determined that Tom Robinson—a black man who has been falsely accused of raping a white woman—gets a fair trial.
That doesn’t come as a surprise, not in this novel where there is never any real confusion about what’s right or wrong, good or bad, and who is innocent or guilty.
“It’s interesting that all the folks that are buying it don’t know they are reading a children’s book,” said Flannery O’Connor, who had no patience for moral simplification.
Funny, happy, and written with unspectacular precision.” In my eyes, that was exactly what was wrong with it.
To an 18-year-old under the spell of the South, the book seemed like a sugarcoated myth.
At important moments that could be emotional, he is strangely detached and distant.
For instance, when Tom is shot dead attempting to escape from prison camp, Atticus offers a terse, factual description of the event.
Faulkner and other writers of the Southern Renaissance wrote from deep inside the culture and mythology of a place that might as well have been a separate nation, but the famed “tragic sense” of Southern literature—the very thing that gave Southern literature its power and authenticity—is absent from , all about the pranks and high jinks of a bunch of loveable kids.
Lee sounds like a bemused anthropologist as she leads the reader through the folkways of her fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, circa 1935.