I’ve just about decided that hosting a challenges is a sure way to make sure that I don’t finish reading the book myself. Yes, I am still reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Between the Bible in 90 Days Challenge (which I am currently behind on), the huge amount of time I spend reading aloud to my girls and schooling them, and the addition of Wi-Fi here at home so that I am connected via my iPod Touch even while I’m nursing the DLM in his room, I am making very slow progress.
Of course, I read this novel the first time in the eighth grade and have read it several times since then. I am enjoying it this time through and have even noticed a few details that I had either never noticed before or had forgotten. For instance, I don’t remember paying attention to Scout’s observation that Atticus liked to be alone during church–that he usually sat in a different pew than she and Jem. I like that these little details all work together to create the character, and while I can see that Harper Lee’s writing might be considered unsophisticated by some, it is just this type of characterization that endears her characters to her readers. Fifty years in print must mean that she did something right!
You might have already guessed that Atticus is my favorite character. This is the first time I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird since I became a parent six years ago, and I think that Atticus’ parenting style and skills are what I am noticing the most this time through. Of course, this is a much-lauded part of Atticus’ character (as a google search for “Atticus Finch parenting” will attest), but I’m finding his relationship with his children both instructive and poignant, all the same.
I get the biggest kick out of Scout’s distaste for school at the beginning of the story. I find it downright hilarious, actually.
The remainder of my schooldays were no more auspicious than the first. Indeed, they were an endless Project that slowly evolved into a Unit, in which miles of construction paper and wax crayon were expended by the State of Alabama in its well-meaning but fruitless efforts to teach me Group Dynamics. What Jem called the Dewey Decimal System was school-wide by the end of my first year, so I had no chance to compare it with other teaching techniques. I could only look around me: Atticus and my uncle, who went to school at home, knew everything–at least what one didn’t know the other did. Furthermore, I couldn’t help noticing that my father had served for years in the state legislature, elected each time without opposition, innocent of the adjustments my teachers thought essential to the development of Good Citizenship. Jem, educated on a half-Decimal half-Duncecap basis, seemed to function effectively alone or in a group, but Jem was a poor example: no tutorial system devised by man could have stopped him from getting at books. As for me, I knew nothing except what I gathered from Time magazine and reading everything I could lay hands on at home, but as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me.
As a homeschool parent-teacher (and an Alabama public school teacher turned homeschool teacher at that!), of course I love this! 😉
I had larger plans than just to read the novel, folks. I meant to read a book about the novel, and I did get started on it. However, the library wanted the book back before I had even scratched the surface of it enough to write a review. I tried to watch the movie this past Friday night, but I got a late start, we had trouble with the DVD, and I finally had to give up on it in order to get the DLM to sleep. Such is life with three small children! 🙂 Just know that it truly is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I absolutely adore Gregory Peck as Atticus. In my mind, he is Atticus. I did remember after my initial TKM Challenge posts that last year I read a YA novel entitled In Search of Mockingbird that revolves around Harper Lee’s story. I’m not giving up on finishing the novel myself this time through, though. It’s just a slow process.
If you read the novel (or tried to! or almost did! or meant to!) or anything related to it or watched the movie, link up your blog post below. I’ll leave this linky open for a few days, just in case any of you need a little extra time. 😉
Thanks for joining me, folks. I hope you enjoyed it!