Monday, September 12, 2016

The Alabama jubilee

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books that everyone reads in high school or junior high. And I did, I guess, technically. But mainly it seems like I went through it to pick up names for the test I knew we have. It wasn't the book, it was me. Anyway, not being proud of that state of affairs, I decided to go back and read it again.

It's quite a charming novel. One thing I hadn't realized was that quite a bit of the book goes by before there's any hint of Tom Robinson's trial. In fact Atticus is used sparely in the opening chapters. What I get from that is that while the case is an important part of the story, it is still a part. It's really the story of a child, and how the way she'll see the world as an adult is formed.

Incidentally, Dill was reportedly based on the young Truman Capote. That seems right.


susan said...

At the high school I attended the novels leaned toward classic British fiction like Hardy and Austen so I never read To Kill a Mockingbird then - or yet, for that matter. As I'm sure you recall the movie is very much focussed on Gregory Peck's characterization of Atticus Finch so it's interesting to know Harper Lee's book is different from that. Of course, movies generally do tend to cut to the essence of a story as they must. The little girl who played Scout was quite wonderful in the role and it's interesting to imagine that Dill was a young Truman Capote.

We re-watched another movie about the South last night that I wonder if you've seen. It was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The book it was based on was popular when it came out but not quite to the extent of Mockingbird. Not dissimilar to Pelham being much about NYC, this one could well be described as a film about Savannah, GA. What a gorgeous place.

Ben said...

It might not have been widely taught when you were in school. Being first published around 1960 I would guess that it first started being considered a classic in the late sixties/early seventies. It's definitely true that in most cases filmmakers have to condense when they adapt a book. They don't always choose the right things to keep, but I can understand that there's a difficult decision to be made.

Curious about Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I have seen some stills. Savannah in general seems to be a lush location pretty thick with Southern Gothic business.