The Pulitzer Prize winning novel was published right at the onset of the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s. It challenged many social norms in the south and tackled the issues of racial injustice, class, and gender roles.
It couldn’t have come at a better time and became even more popular when the Academy Award winning adaptation was released in 1962. Today, I don’t know anyone who went to school without having to read the novel or watch the film.
Now, back to my original point - when I learned of Harper Lee’s death it struck me as a reminder that we still struggle with the same issues almost 60 years later. Racial injustice is a huge talking point in the news today. From Donald Trump wanting all Muslims to wear tags, to officers killing innocent minorities using excess force. The wage gap between the highest earning 1 percent and the middle class seems to grow wider year after year.
Gender roles in today’s society are also a hot topic with feminist movements and social justice movements making noise all around the world.
These are the same themes that Harper Lee tackled in, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, so when I heard of her death that was the first thing that popped into my head. I couldn’t help but think that Harper Lee’s message has not fully been realized or understood.
But, on the brighter side, society is very different than it was 60 years ago and I truly believe “To Kill a Mockingbird” had something to do with that. I believe that Harper Lee’s death inspired the same thoughts that I have and has served as a reminder to all of us, that there is still a ton of work to be done.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” is still the most widely read novel by schoolchildren and a 1991 survey by the Book of the Month Club and The Library of Congress Center for the Book found that, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, was rated behind only the Bible in books that are "most often cited as making a difference”. So, why don’t we practice what we preach and continue to fight for justice in all areas of life.