KATHMANDU, Sept 19: Binit Gurung is currently pursuing his BA degree in Social Work and English Literature at St Xavier’s College, Kathmandu. He recently finished reading Harper Lee’s classic To Kill A Mocking Bird.
The book is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee which constitutes of childish escapades along with racial and social tensions, judicial prejudice, mindless grudge, death and discovery.
Here is what Gurung has to say about the book.
Your overall perception about the book
The novel is largely based on Harper Lee’s own life experiences. When she was growing up, nine black men were wrongly accused of raping two white women in the small town of Scotsboro in Alabama. This made a big impression on Lee and she based her novel roughly on the same incident. The beauty of this book is that it doesn’t perplex the readers by throwing a host of facts to follow. Indeed, it’s a treat to read.
Your favorite character in the book
Undoubtedly, Atticus Finch, the father of Scout and Jem. He is a scrupulous person as well as an adept lawyer who is literally ahead of his time. His bold decision to defend Tom Robinson in the court reflects his progressive attitude unaffected by the pervasive racism of the time. He appears to be a good single parent too. The way he deals with his children reflects his warm paternal traits. He shows that he is a man of principles and when he mistakenly assumes that Bob Ewell is killed by his son Jem in self-defense, he readies himself for the court rather than brushing the entire matter under the carpet. Basically, I liked the humane qualities of Atticus and the way he upholds his integrity even in the face of adversity.
Can you relate to the character?
Though my favorite character is Atticus, I feel closer to the character of Jem. In the novel, Scout observes behavioral changes in Jem with the passage of time. For instance, Jem develops this sense that he is a grown-up kid and has certain responsibilities of his own. He doesn’t want Scout to tag along when he is out. In the court, he watches the trail in rapt attention while his sister (Scout) dozes off. He devours whatever knowledge he thinks he should know. He appears to have a thing for intellectual pursuits. As a kid growing up, I felt similar changes within me too.
How do you feel about the way Lee has written the book?
We all have passed through the phase of incurable inquisitiveness as children, and seeing it being mirrored in the novel was personally a bit touching and nostalgic for me. Though the underlying themes of the novel are serious and poignant, Lee has penned the novel employing frivolous language with a blend of humor. The writer has conscientiously used the narrative style to match the naivety of the narrator’s age. The complex character like Boo Radley is well sketched and well placed. All in all, the novel is brilliantly crafted with interesting characters, simple settings and realistic plot