Is there a modern author out there who hasn’t been impacted by the writing of Harper Lee?
In the fall, I had the pleasure of sharing my love of her writing with my teenager who “had” to read “To Kill a Mocking Bird” for English class. I can only hope, he and others of his generation, will re-read the novel for the pleasure of being transported into a time and space, fortunately unfamiliar to many now.
With the potency of the words, the ability to ‘show’ us a life, and lead us down the path through the young eyes of Scout, is it any wonder the novel won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961. How original and thoughtful was the story through the innocent eyes of a child. Multi-layered and multi-faceted, she wove the plots of her relationship with her brother Jem, together with the secrecy of Boo Radley, and of course the trail of Tom Robinson, who had been accused of raping Mayella Ewell, as defended by her father Atticus Finch.
Though Lee, worked as a research assistant for Truman Capote for his classic non-fiction novel “In Cold Blood”, she never again published. Guarded and private, I wonder in her death will we be pleasantly surprised by a release of her secret writings, for I find it hard to believe someone as talented as she could never again put pen to paper—or perhaps, as admirer, that is merely hopeful.
Oh, to think what we could learn from her writings!
“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”