I remember the time when I was still struggling to learn English, and how hard I tried to learn quickly. Back then the people around me didn’t dare to ask me what I wanted to do because they always got the same answer. “Read with me, please.”
Everybody around me had to read with me and they all gave in, even the ones who didn’t like to read a book -I was merciless. I tortured them endlessly with simply written books, often romance novels. Too many complicated words are too frustrating when you learn a new language, one or two in a paragraph are manageable. I highlighted the words, looked them up in the dictionary, wrote them down in my notebook and repeated them all every day until I knew them by heart.
Being able to read a book in English all by myself, that was my ultimate goal and dream and I worked hard for it. Hard to believe isn’t it. Today I write in English and I even dream in a language that I was not born and raised with.
One day a neighbor bought some American classics for me at a flea market, and he handed them to me as a gift. One of them was Haper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
It was not an easy read, and it took me months to finally finish the book. Many, many words were highlighted at the end, and the book left me with so many questions -but also gave me some answers.
I loved the book, have read it numerous times ever since, and I love the movie just as much. I even have it as an audiobook, and I enjoy listing to Sissy Spacek, who did a marvelous job reading it.
Today I found out that schools in Virginia have pulled copies of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Mark Twain’s classic “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” after a parent’s complaint.
“There are so many racial slurs in there and offensive wording that you can’t get past that, and right now we are a nation divided as it is.”
The racial slur in question appears more than 200 times in “Huckleberry Finn,” Mark Twain’s 1884 satire about racism in pre-Civil War America and are used almost 50 times in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a 1960 novel about anti-black bigotry in the midcentury American South that has been a staple of school syllabi for 50 years. (Source: Los Angeles Times)
I do wonder what is next. Will they forbid Holocaust books, because of racial slurs against Jews?
Book banning, that rings a bell, doesn’t it? What is next? Burning books? Censorship?
For Heaven’s sake, parents try to protect their children of racial slurs and “bad” language. Have they read the comment section at a website like yahoo lately, where they seem to have simpleton meetings every day?
I am very sorry dear parents there in Virginia, but racism is real, has been real and it should NEVER be forgotten. Will it end one day? I don’t know, but it won’t end because we don’t talk or read about it. Pretending, that something didn’t happen, won’t solve the problem.
A Pulitzer Prize winner is banned. If I would be a believer I would be tempted to say, “Lord help us in this insanity.”
The book is not solely about racism, this would be a terrible oversimplification of the novel. It’s an outstanding exploration of morality. Harper Lee uses a very powerful instrument in her book, she uses children. She also introduces the reader to an extraordinary person like Atticus Finch, who is teaching morality in a world that is full of immorality and illogicalness.
Racism exists. Social Inequality exists. A pseudo-caste system exists. Evil exists.
But also the good exists. Not just in a novel, but also in real life. In the book, Atticus Finch tells Scout and Jem to put themselves in other people’s skin before they act. It’s a powerful message that’s needed today as much as it was needed back then -maybe even more.
There is good and there is evil and sometimes all it takes is to get to know people and you will see the good. Some people we will never be able to reach. Somehow we all coexist.
Please, don’t kill my Mockingbird, let children learn from the mistakes of the past -let’s not hide them.