Sunday, August 31, 2008

Second Impressions

I like this book more than I thought I would, and wondered if I every really read it, or was just supposed too.

I must admit that I hate that Atticus and Miss Maudie are "old" .

The blanket part was sweet, of Boo, I want to meet him now too.

A Dead Shot

I liked this set of chapters because we learn a lot more about Atticus. He doesn't worry what other people think of him, including his own kids. It seems he can sense how his kids feel about him being so old, yet, he still doesn't feel the need to brag to them about his shooting abilities. I think it is part his own humility and part trying to create humility in his children. He also wants them to be less worried about superficiality. He wants them to be proud of him for taking a difficult-on-all-levels criminal defense case and not for being a dead shot.

We also see more of his parenting style, which is pretty relaxed, but yet still attentive. He knows his kids well and knows what their biggest weaknesses are. He has enough sense to ignore Scout's language and to focus his attention on the bigger problem, her hotheadedness. Also, when he talks to his brother about having kids you start to see that he he isn't detached and that he really does love his kids and loves that he has kids. Atticus would be a confusing parent to have at first, but once you were old enough you could look back with appreciation and see what a devoted parent he was, which is what Harper Lee/Scout seems to be doing.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Wow Tecia. Well said. The purpose of good literature is to touch our lives. Have you gotten smarter since we read the last book? Oh yeah, I forgot, I didn't read the last book. Oops. I meant this as a comment. I'll never get the hang of this dang thing.

yeah, so....

Is it just me or did it take until Chap. 4 to realize that Scout was a girl? Maybe I was a little sleepy when they mentioned that in the beginning.

Like some of you I did not like Atticus at first. On page 6 Scout says her and Jem found their father 'satisfactory' and that he treated them with 'courteous detachment. Then we learn how he handled Walter coming over for lunch. How wrong first impressions can be, or how views from others can be misleading and tainted. Here we are forming our opinions on a 6 year olds views when Atticus really is a good man. How often we do this in real life.

I think Dill is funny and Miss Caroline is dumb. I like how Lee writes, it kinda reminds me of mom. Please note at the bottom of page 5, "they ambled across the square". It's totally something mom would say. I'm just glad I knew what ambled meant.

I think you should treat people like people. Miss Caroline's problem is that she made the first day a power struggle to show that she was boss and it came back to bite her in the.. well it came back to bite her. I think we do this in life as well and that is why I mention it. There have been many lessons about real life in these 4 chapters (oh calm down!! I know the schedule says 5, but I only got to 4. Sheesh!)

I like it so far and the characters do seem interesting. Am I the only one who hasn't read this book before?

Miss Maudie

I almost forgot. Read again what Miss Maudie said to Stephanie Crawford when she said Boo was looking in her window at night on page 51. It is hilarious!! Gotta love Miss Maudie!

Required Reading

Lee has a great wit and vivid descriptions of the space and culture that is "Maycomb". Read again the reason Atticus doesn't like criminal law on page 5. And how about the description of the heat and culture of Maycomb on pages 5 and 6? I am not sure if it is fair to size up a man from the things he does at 10. Jem is a good boy who loves his sister and is being raised by a black cook and a father who is lonely. Some of the great significance of this work is the time in which it was written and published-1960. This was just a little after schools were segregated and we realized that we had a race problem in America. Atticus is principled. Poor Scout doesn't know when to shut up. And she's so smart (p. 20). And isn't it hilarious that Miss Caroline doesn't want Atticus to teach Scout any more that it would interfere with her reading (p. 19). She's making fun of teachers who take themselves too seriously (and well she should). When I read a book I am always mindful of the dedication in the front of the book and the part in the book where the origins of the title of the book are presented. It is note worthy of the respect that Miss Maudie has for Atticus when she says "Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets." This isn't a fast moving book but life isn't either. The pace of the book reflects the time it represents and the way we really live. There are many reasons this book is required reading. But the really neat thing, I love it!


I like to think and read about Scout. I like how innocent she is and how practical she is. I think she is definitely older than her years but it all makes sense to her. I think that her teacher feels stupid when she sees such a young person reading things that she probably never will. I feel bad that Scout had such a hard first day of school. she tried so hard to do what was right and explain why the Cunningham boy refused to take the money. I like what Atticus told her about new people not understanding "all Maycomb's ways in one day". Atticus seems very wise and loving. Jem and Scout do not seem to realize how lucky they are to have a father that loves them alot. I mean, look at Dill for example. He's crazy and makes up all sorts of stories about his dad. He can tell the difference. I think that it is funny that they all run by the house as fast as they can. I like that Scout does not deny being afraid and that she points out Jem's weakness whenever he tries to be tough. I think it keeps Jem somewhat humble. I remember reading the book awhile ago but I do not remember what happens so I am definitely enjoying the book. Sorry about all ideas crunched into one paragraph. I am going to blame my pregnant brain for that.

Hero, Villian, or Just a Boy?

I am interested in Jem's character. I enjoy reading about him because sometimes I like him and other times I am disgusted with him. I really wanted to write a post about how he is a bad person or a typical ego-obsessed, pushy, insecure man but I just don't think that is quite right. I think he is just a young boy trying to grow up.

I do agree with Karen that he is manipulative. But he is also manipulated by Dill and unwittingly by Scout. He is definitely insecure though. His insecurity was behind him being mean to Dill when they first met--because he is insecure, he first had to establish his superiority over Dill before he could accept him as a friend. He also seems worried over and eager to maintain Scout's hero-worship of him. Yet, Atticus does seem to be having an influence on him. I was really happy when he invited Walter to lunch and it was the exact approach I imagine Atticus would have taken to the situation. It was secure, compassionate, and dignified. Unfortunately, that was the only good thing I've seen him do in five chapters. I think this book is supposed to be about Scout growing up, but I hope we will get to see Jem just do as much growing up.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Perhaps I have a simple mind but I have never been able to understand why author's choose the titles that they do. For instance why was that one book we read not called Shangri-blah and what does this book have to do with to kill or not to kill a mockingbird?

Maybe I will figure it out later and maybe I will never understand...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I am still in the process of forming my opinions about the characters in the story.

Atticus, I didn't like him at first, because his children called him by his first name, and I felt that was
because he must be overbearing and aloof. I now understand that they call him that because everybody calls him that, and I think I will really like him.

Jem, is a fraud. Fake bravery by touching the house. Different rules at school than at home.
Twisting his fathers words, and manipulating his little sister.

Scout, I can't get over the fact that her teacher said her being able to read and write was a
bad thing and she should stop doing it. I think she is older than her years, and I hope she will
not keep following the boys and sharing their trouble making, but I think the chances of that are slim.

Dill, I worry about that boy, I think he will go to far.

Capurinia, I think every family needs her to keep them thinking right.

Boo Radley , I am pretty sure he isn't stuffed up the chimney, I am scared, sorry and interested in him.
so I guess I am glad the kids will keep bugging him, so I can learn the truth of what his life is.

I like the way the people in the neighborhood and school let me feel the superstitions and prejudices of the
the time and place.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Harper Lee

Wiki biographical excerpt:
Harper Lee, known as Nelle, was born in the Alabama town of Monroeville on April 28, 1926, the youngest of four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her father, a former newspaper editor and proprietor, was a lawyer who served in the state legislature from 1926 to 1938. As a child, Lee was a tomboy and a precocious reader, and enjoyed the friendship of her schoolmate and neighbor, the young Truman Capote.

After graduating from high school in Monroeville, Lee enrolled at the all-female
Huntingdon College in Montgomery (1944–45), and then pursued a law degree at the University of Alabama (1945–50). While there, she wrote for several student publications and spent a year as editor of the campus humor magazine, Ramma-Jamma. Though she did not complete the law degree, she studied for a summer in Oxford, England, before moving to New York in 1950, where she worked as a reservation clerk with Eastern Air Lines and BOAC.

Lee continued as a reservation clerk until the late 50s, when she devoted herself to writing. She lived a frugal life, traveling between her
cold-water-only apartment in New York to her family home in Alabama to care for her father.

Having written several long stories, Harper Lee located an agent in November 1956. The following month at the East 50th townhouse of her friends
Michael Brown and Joy Williams Brown, she received a gift of a year's wages with a note: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas." Within a year, she had a first draft. Published July 11, 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was an immediate bestseller and won great critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. It remains a bestseller with more than 30 million copies in print. In 1999, it was voted "Best Novel of the Century" in a poll by the Library Journal.