Friday, October 12, 2007

The Punchline

Just finished reading Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. I can’t remember if I read it as I was supposed to in eighth grade, but I did read it recently. Six-year old Scout is not sure about living in Maycomb, Alabama. It’s a scary place. There’s a cranky lady who judges the world from her front porch. A black man named Tom Robinson is falsely condemned for a crime he didn’t commit. The school kids pick fights when Scout’s attorney father defends Tom in court. At the end of their street is a spooky neighbor named Boo. The whole novel is about Scout coming to terms with the neighborhood. On the very last page of the book is the moral of the story. Scout is talking to her daddy Atticus at bed time, and complaining that people around town are accusing a neighbor kid of something he didn’t do. She says:

“An’ they chased him ‘n’ never could catch him ‘cause they didn’t know what he looked like, an’ Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things…Atticus, he was real nice.”

Her father bent down, tucked in her covers, and said, “Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.” (page 281)

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