So I realize I am pretty late to the game on this one, but I recently finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time. Initially, I had a little trouble getting into it but by about page 75 I was hooked. By the time I had finished it, it had pretty much knocked my socks off. I guess there is a reason it is a classic. Since finishing it, the story has continued to occupy my thoughts. Although it touches on many exceedingly relevant political and social issues, one of the main topics in the book is that of prejudice. Though I hate to say it, I have realized that we as a society are still plagued by many of the same issues that the characters in the book were dealing with in a story set in the 1930s. Despite coming ridiculously far since then in the areas of science and technology (We are pretty much the Jetsons), I am not sure we have made as much progress socially in overcoming prejudice and creating an environment where tolerance, kindness, and understanding are considered vital. The most interesting part about the book for me was that it was told from the perspective of a 6 year old. Her views on the events happening in her town and country and her reactions to statements made by the adults around her were very poignant to me. It made me think (although I am surely no authority on the workings of the human mind) that prejudice is something that is learned. We are taught by observation of actions and statements of people around us. Luckily for Scout, she had a role model like Atticus to teach her the importance of treating everyone equally despite what peers and other people in the town were saying. Unfortunately, not every child is so lucky and it is human nature to be easily influenced by stimuli around us.
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However, just thinking about the idea that each person is born as a clean slate free of prejudice makes me feel hopeful for the future. It has also made me thoughtful about my own prejudices and consider actions I have taken and statements I have made as a result. If you have not read this story in awhile, I highly recommend you read it again. It really is a wonderful book.