• To Kill A Mocking Bird

    By Grace James

    A book that has influenced me greatly would have to be the book “To Kill a Mocking Bird” written by Harper Lee, published in 1960. When I think of women who have written amazing books (Harper Lee, Jane Austen, etc.) I wish I could be like them some day. The style of her book influences me to write better stories. I love how everything is connected and well planned. Harper Lee was wise to be slow about publicity after her book was published. The thing I love most about books is characters, especially my favorite in “To Kill A Mocking Bird”, Boo Radley.

    I have learned much about how to be a better writer from this book. Something critical that I learned was to ‘layer’ it; make one thing connect to another and so on. This makes the story very well planned. For instance, the title of the book, “To Kill A Mocking Bird”, has to do with how the people believe it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because all they do is make pleasant music for you, and are not at all a burden. It relates that it should be a sin to be hurtful to the African Americans in the story because all they do is work hard for the people and are always kind to them. I like how the story-though it is not obvious at first-deeply relates to its title.

    Harper Lee was wise to try to avoid publicity for her book after it was published. It was 1960 and women didn’t have as much equality as they do today. She was smart to not have people know she was a woman until many people read it and decided they liked it. She knew that if people found out she was a woman at first, they wouldn’t read it. I admire that even after nearly fifty years now the book is still popular and people are still much enjoying it. That makes me want to work even harder to be better at writing, so if I ever were to publish a book, people would enjoy it and would want to reread it.

    Characters are possibly the most important part of a story, in my opinion. Whenever I write a fictional story (or non-fictional), I sometimes have a favorite character involved. In this book, my favorite character is Boo Radley. I like that it seems that he doesn’t believe in racism, and that even though people sometimes lie about him because they dislike him for that, he still stands for what he believes in. Boo Radley doesn’t mind being different and ignores town lies about him. I try to be more like Boo Radley by being me, and not who others want me to be, and I try to make characters that are just as liked by my readers.

    I think that the story “To Kill A Mocking Bird” is a very satisfying story because it has an important life-lesson in it, and is creative. It loosely relates to Harper Lee’s childhood, when she was just ten-years-old. A white woman near Monroeville, Alabama, accused a black man named Walter Lett of raping her. Harper Lee’s father was a lawyer and defended Walter Lett, but Lett was convicted and sentenced to death. After the local newspaper received letters claiming Lett was innocent, his sentence was commuted to a life in prison, where he died in 1937 of tuberculosis. I know that the story is closely related to Harper Lee’s childhood, but it makes me wonder if I could write a fictional story, but make it also like my own life.