Sunday, August 19, 2018

To Kill a Mockingbird and Persuasion



In July, I reread another favorite, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. It's been probably ten years or more since my last reread of this classic American novel, and enough time has passed that I found details fresh although the arc of the story itself is burned into my psyche.

This time I found myself focused on Scout's brother, Jim, and saw the novel as his coming of age story. Scout as the narrator is puzzled by how Jim changes in the course of the novel, but we can see his struggles through her eyes and understand what she as a seven-year old can only be frustrated by.

I really see Jim as an Atticus in training--torn between love for his hometown and love for the human race, believing that justice will prevail. Jim as an adolescent rages when justice is thwarted, and hasn't yet gained the maturity of Atticus who works for justice when he knows it is a lost cause.

I hadn't planned on writing in this post about my other reread this summer, Persuasion, by Jane Austen, which I reread on my flight home from France, but thinking about Atticus reminded me of Anne's great speech at the end of Persuasion, which persuades Frederick Wentworth to finally reach out to her. She says: "All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone!"




Atticus works for justice when there is no hope; Anne continues to love when there is no hope.




Anne's faithfulness is rewarded by her second bloom and second chance to marry the one man she  loves; Atticus's faithfulness is rewarded by having a son like Jim who we know will carry the torch once it has been passed to him by his father.

Both novels fulfill two of the categories in this year's Back to the Classics Challenge - a reread of a favorite and a classic by a woman author. So, I'll put To Kill a Mockingbird in the woman author category, and Persuasion in the reread category. Two more classics to go to complete the challenge - title with a color in it and an author that's new to me.





12 comments:

  1. Nice comparison drawn, Jane! Love your insights and your appreciation of these classics!

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  2. I love both of these books. And what an awesome post! You make me want to pull out my copies and read them all over again. :)

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  3. I also like to find connections between seemingly unconnected works. I thin k that you are on to something. Anne's speech is really a something work pondering. It is so well written and thought out. Much like the themes underlying To Kill a Mockingbird are.

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  4. Nice double review! Re-reading can be such a rich experience, but to take the time from shiny new books...its hard.

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  5. Wonderful post!! Both novels are favorites and I love how you found a connection between them.

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  6. Two of my favorites, actually! I reread To Kill...a couple of years ago. And I need to reread Persuasion this year. I try to get that one in at least every other year. I loved how you combined both of these books into a theme of love in the face of no hope. Beautiful.

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  7. I have read to kill a mocking bird once, Persuasion is on my TBRM, interesting post xxx

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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  8. Good for you, for rereading two wonderful classics! I need to be reading classics more this year. Thanks for revisiting these two books.

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  9. Wow - what a great review of two of my favorite books. I love your focus on Jim and your comparison between To Kill a Mockingbird and Persuasion. I never thought of them as being related before, but I can see it!

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  10. Great review. I have not read To Kill A Mockingbird and tnat's something I must do in 2019. I have read Persuasion and I so agree there are connections between books and the more you read the more you find those connections, particularly with the classics I have found authors that must have been inspired by other authors who wrote prior to them

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  11. I reread To Kill a Mockingbird a couple years ago -- or last year? and it still lives up to when I first read it long ago. It's quite incredible when a novel can do that ...

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