RIP Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, 1926 - 2016


#1

"Harper Lee, whose first novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” about racial injustice in a small Alabama town, sold more than 10 million copies and became one of the most beloved and most taught works of fiction ever written by an American, has died. She was 89.

Her death was confirmed by HarperCollins, her publisher.

The instant success of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the next year, turned Ms. Lee into a literary celebrity, a role she found oppressive and never learned to accept. The enormous success of the film version of the novel, released in 1962 with Gregory Peck in the starring role of Atticus Finch, a small-town Southern lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, only added to Ms. Lee’s fame and fanned expectations for her next novel.

For more than half a century, it failed to appear. Then, in 2015, long after the reading public had given up on seeing anything more from Ms. Lee, a sequel appeared under mysterious circumstances.

“I never expected any sort of success with ‘Mockingbird,’ ” Ms. Lee told a radio interviewer in 1964. “I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers, but, at the same time I sort of hoped someone would like it well enough to give me encouragement.” Instead, she said, “I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.”

Ms. Lee gained a reputation as a literary Garbo, a recluse whose public appearances to accept an award or an honorary degree counted as important news simply because of their rarity. On such occasions she did not speak, other than to say a brief thank you."

Spoiler

#2

This may not be popular opinion, but I think To Kill A Mockingbird was a very overrated novel.


#3

I wouldn’t say you’re entirely wrong, but evaluated in the context of when it was released I can see how it earned its reputation.


#4

Damn! RIP.
And no, I wouldn’t think overrated. You might make that argument for the movie version, but then be prepared to fend off Gregory Peck fans.


#5

I dunno what you consider overrated, but Mockingbird was a damn fine novel.


#6

When I think of a group of people who will mourn the death of Harper Lee the most, its General Discussion.


#7

Fine as it may be, there are better books out there that deal with racism in the US. One that comes to mind immediately is The Invisible Man. To Kill A Mockingbird had a starch-stiff protagonist whom I couldn’t believe was that goody goody. She wasn’t doing any favors when the sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird actually portrayed him as a racist during that trial. It’s too little too late and big fans of Lee won’t even acknowledge the fact that Atticus Finch was a racist.

So yeah, I am not a big fan of the book. I never understood it’s cultural following except that white apologists use it as an example of white guilt.


#8

Literally watched the movie two days ago. Been needing to buy the sequel.

In all fairness the book is being narrated through the eyes of a small girl. She isn’t going to see the fault of her father’s (and they are there in the book). I don’t know that he is supposed to be goody goody so much as reserved. In all fairness I find Cather In The Rye to be way overrated.


#9

I like catcher in the rye : <


#10

Yeah I know the perspective the story is told in but speak to everyone who loves that book and they will see it the way I just explained it: he’s a do-no-wrong type of white guy in the South.

Catcher in the Rye is great if you’re a teenager. I still liked it as an adult, when I first read it, but it didn’t speak to me the way it maybe would’ve at a younger age. I gave it to my girlfriend like 3 years ago and she loved Holden Caufield. Thought he was a rebel.


#11

I think CiTR is a good insight less into Holden but moreso into how you perceive that young/rebellious/angsty archetype. That insight I believe is universal. I have had a number of instructors who found Holden to be annoying and even went so far as to insinuate that his suicidal thoughts were selfish. It’s a more complex archetype than it appears at first glance, and it is further complicated by the possibility that he might be in a mental institution at the end of the novel (spoiler).


#12

<<<


#13

Isn’t it clear in the beginning of the novel that he was in an institution?


#14

it is subtle but very hard to miss, but yes you are technically correct
the more astute readers will notice that, but it is actually pretty ambiguous in the beginning


#15

I’d have to re-read it. I got the impression that it was a boarding school. Reading Catch 22 right now and have no intention of going back to verify.


#16

Yeah it’s sorta hard to miss.

The first page: 'I’ll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy."


#17

idk I think thats easier to miss than ur making it out to be
it’s very hard to miss if you already have that presupposition but otherwise that could mean a host of things

Just making the point that I noticed it, but the majority of readers do not. It becomes clearer toward the end.

also catch 22 (y)


#18

I mean I won’t disagree that other works handle racism “better”. (Still need to read Invisible Man.) TKaM is pretty light/simple compared to novels like that but I don’t hold that against it.


#19

I’d have to re-read it. Same with To Kill a Mockingbird; there was a lot I missed because I was expecting the book to be about the trial and instead it was about the children.


#20

You got any concrete evidence to back that claim up with? :smokin:

R.I.P.

:tup: