Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Good Scout

Of all the famous literary characters floating around out there, I've always most identified with Jean Louise "Scout" Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Tomboy. Check. Great daddy. Check. Tendancy to go anywhere posted as "off limits." Check. Dressing as a ham for Halloween. Well, no, but I would've if I'd've thought of it. (Darn!)

Today is the 50th anniversary of the book's publication, so it's been in the news a lot lately. I love the book, and I love the film. Alas, since TKAM is required reading in a lot of schools, I suspect many students hate it just because it's forced on them. Hope not. (A Tale of Two Cities and Silas Marner were required reading for me, and I ended up liking both.) I hope readers - students or otherwise - give Scout and Atticus, Jem and Calpurnia, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley a chance to work themselves into their lives.

Yes, it's a book full of great characters. Still, the story's narrator hooked me like no other. Scout is honest, petulant, inquisitive, and plain-speaking. She tells it like it is and doesn't understand why the crazy adults are so off-balance. Scout is who I hope I am inside.

With all the anniversary hoopla come the haters. That's fine. If you don't like the book, you don't like the book. If you think it's simplistic or stereotypical or too Southern gothic, fine. But I happen to love it. And I do love the little tomboy Scout, who sees things in a way that only a kid can see. "Hey, Boo."

I haven't read To Kill a Mockingbird in a long time. A fine way to celebrate its Golden Anniversary is to pull it down and spend a little time with Scout.


GlennC! said...

Mary, I missed part of an NPR comment on the book by Miss Lee. I gathered that there might have been a different ending in real life than that of the book. Any insight on that? I, too, love the movie. All too wonderful. I need to read the book for certain.

Jay said...

You know what? I've seen the movie several times, but I've never read the book. Perhaps it's time I did!

At school, the required reading for my year was Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy. I still don't like Shakespeare, but I've always loved Thomas Hardy, and The Woodlanders (the exam book at school) is one I still hold in a lot of affection.

Came over via the writing analyser!