Books, Pop Culture

Thank you for your song, Harper Lee

Harper Lee, one of America's most beloved literary figures, has just passed away. She was 89.

The infamous author published “To Kill a Mockingbird” in 1960, a breakthrough novel that won her a Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

I first read “To Kill a Mockingbird” for my eighth grade english class. We watched the 1962 movie, wrote an essay, and even had a mock “southern tea party” when we finished the unit. Reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” was the first time I had ever been introduced to the heavy topics of rape, racism, and justice in regards to the American South. It was so powerful — and the older I got, the more I appreciated the voice of Scout. TKAM got me to think, and greatly impacted my worldview as an early teen.

Last year, when Lee published “Go Set a Watchman”, bibliophiles everywhere collectively lost their minds. The book returns to the same setting — Maycomb, Alabama — to check in with beloved Scout Finch 20 years later. Despite releasing the sequel 45 years after the original, Lee’s writing rang just as poignant as before. “Go Set a Watchman” added yet more layers of rich context and powerful storytelling.

Harper Lee opened up minds, hearts, and gave vision to those with no sight, and the literary world offers its thanks.

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I leave you with this classic quote from “To Kill a Mockingbird”:

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

May she rest in power.