book review

To kill a Mockingbird

 

Author – Harper Lee
Publisher – Arrow Books, The Random House

No. Of pages – 309

The children, Scout Finch and Jem Fincher and their creative friend, Dill have loads of fun and suddenly one is sucked into their lives. They enjoy themselves walking to and from the school, and you recall your own childhood. They make fun of their teachers and have their petty fights among themselves. While Jem progresses from a naughty boy to an early teen trying to show maturity, Scout, his younger sister continues to be her feisty self. In fact, she is the protagonist and the entire story unfolds from her point of view.

The denizens of Maycomb, where they live with their Lawyer Father, Atticus, go about their daily lives and one gets a glimpse of America in the 30’s. Or at least, a town in America in the 30’s. Or, the lives of a people in a town in America in the 30’s. It is a town in Southern America and an undercurrent of racism runs through the entire novel, some characters in the story for it while many against. But the children’s innocent life is always in the foreground. And you never realize that Harper Lee has actually dwelled upon the principles of humanity itself by tackling the serious topic of racism in the most subtle manner while you are charmed by the spunky and guileless children.

What stays with you, long after you have finished the novel, is the fact that Harper Lee has conjured up a mind grabbing story using humour and simple language.

Yatindra Tawde

 

humour

Rowdy Rooster

There was nothing rowdy about it. Maurice had malice towards none. It was in his nature. To crow early morning; his daily salute the morning Sun. And the French countryside loved him for that, their morning alarm which never failed to rouse them from deep slumber. In fact, few people in the village did not get their morning pressure till they heard him. 

Maurice had a booming crow and the online friendly young folk of the town had made him into a celebrity in France. But no one in the village were to know that their way of life was soon going to be challenged.

Maurice had a booming crow and the online friendly young folk of the town had made him into a celebrity in France. But no one in the village were to know that their way of life was soon going to be challenged.

We in the Indian metros are very familiar with the concept of a holiday home where the nuclear families yearn for a break from their stressed lives and builders take advantage of this craving by offering homes in idyllic surroundings of the countryside.

It seems this is a common phenomenon in other countries as well. Certainly France, where our hero, Maurice comes from. 

His neighborhood changed fast and soon his owner’s small dwelling was boxed between big bungalows in which the city folk moved into, especially during the weekends. They came, looking for some peace and quiet, which they got in plenty but putting up with the loud crowing of Maurice in the early morning was a challenge. His owner was faced with complaints and being a simple woman, she tried various tricks to quieten him.

Suddenly he found himself locked away for the night. Extra care was taken to ensure that the morning rays did not reach him. 

Poor Maurice!

What was he to do? He started crowing louder to plead with his owner to let him out. 

Finally, a city couple from the neighbourhood had had enough. They were retirees who had moved to the village to imbibe the village life but forgot to put their city egos in the city. They slapped a case against the owner and accused Maurice of making a great cacophony every morning and disturbing their beauty sleep.

Soon the case grabbed headlines across France and the Maurice Fan club gathered supporters. 

“The complainants are fools who have suddenly discovered that eggs don’t grow on trees!”, thundered the Mayor of the town.

The other animals of the countryside came out in support, the donkeys braying and the cows mooing.

The lawyer defended Maurice’s right to make himself heard. He himself was not in court otherwise he would have crowed in his own defence.

Last heard, the city folks are getting used to Maurice as they are finding his crowing an early morning stress buster compared to the sounds of the city.

Yatindra Tawde