Why is the story of To Kill A Mockingbird is so influential?
Josh Richardson - Student Writer
To Kill A Mockingbird is a book that is riddled with racial injustices. The plot follows that of a young girl and her life as the daughter of a lawyer defending a black man's supposed raping of a white woman. The morals of the story seem to revolve very heavily around the black man's case, but the story tends to follow the girl very closely. It is almost as if the author hid behind the story of this little girl, but left a much greater story and message in her wake. She took a story that could be accessible to younger people and inserted a story that would be much better left to older people. In doing this she left a message of racial injustice that could be understood by just about anybody, because she made it understandable in her story to that of a little girl. You may have to dig a little deeper to find all the meaning behind the case of the black man, but it is laid clear for all that a great injustice was committed.
What is harder to see from simply following the girl's story? You miss the fact that this story has tremendous resemblance to that of the Scottsboro boys. This story has a complete underlying message of what the author thought of that trial and of course the injustice she believed was done to an entire race as well. There is also a place in the novel where he tries to escape his fate and is killed. It seems almost to be of less importance in the greater scheme of the story, but that holds a tremendous message. It shows that she believed the black man on a whole was not stupid by attempting to run. The black man was not going to go through stupid trivial steps to see if he was accountable, he was going to be free, whether that be through death or life. What it proves to me as a reader was that he clung to that road to freedom even then, by making that choice he was practicing his right to freedom that he knew he deserved. I think that says a tremendous amount about what she believed African-Americans as a race to be capable of.
Many people will read this novel and come away knowing that the girl had thought a great injustice had been done. If you dig a little deeper into understanding the novel you will see that she speaks highly of a people who had nothing, but risked everything for freedom. She links the story to historical times when the white man was cruel and ruthless, but she leaves you with the hope that change is possible. She leaves you with that idea that you can make a difference just as one man did, just as one girl looked on and even thought in rebellious terms to the heinous crime. The author leaves you with one thought, that freedom should be won at any cost when you have earned it. That is why this novel has so much influence on its readers.