June lit discussion:
A week and a half ago we discussed To Kill a Mockingbird for our teen discussion night. It was a good discussion, I think. Most of the girls enjoyed Uncle Tom's Cabin more, but still got a lot out of this book. I think I might like them about equally.
Harper Lee is so brilliant. The first time I read the book, I was struck by it's delightful child-perspective and unabashed defense of truth. This time I was impressed more by the smartness of the book (especially in the various, rather subtle characterizations), how vivid the story and characters are and how well the story works from a child's point of view.
Here are a couple of very random snippets that I liked (and which do very little justice to the story):
I never understood her preoccupation with heredity. Somewhere, I had received the impression that Fine Folks were people who did the best they could with the sense they had, but Aunt Alexandra was of the opinion, obliquely expressed, that the longer a family had been squatting on one patch of land the finer it was.
One of the many instances in which Atticus was asked why he took the case...
"-don't see why you touched it in the first place," Mr. Link Deas was saying. "You've got everything to lose from this, Atticus. I mean everything."
"Do you really think so?"
This was Atticus' s dangerous question. "Do you really think you want to move there, Scout?" Bam, bam bam, and the checkerboard was swept clean of my men. "Do you really think that, son? Then read this." Jem would struggle the rest of an evening through the speeches of Henry W. Grady.
"Link, that boy might go to the chair, but he's not going till the truth's told." Atticus' voice was even. "And you know what the truth is."
In Maycomb, if one went for a walk with no definite purpose in mind, it was correct to believe one's mind incapable of definite purpose.
Some invisible signal had made the lunchers on the square rise and scatter bits of newspaper, cellophane, and wrapping paper.
"Heck," Atticus' back was turned. "If this thing's hushed up it'll be a simple denial to Jem of the way I've tried to raise him. Sometimes I think I'm a total failure as a parent, but I'm all they've got. Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I've tried to live so I can look squarely back at him...if I connived at something like this, frankly I couldn't meet his eye, and the day I can't do that I'll know I've lost him. I don't want to lose him and Scout, because they're all I've got."Chestercon 2007:
Our family is expecting to attend the Chesterton conference in Minnesota next week. We'd love to say hello if you're there. I'll be the one with all the kids in tow - one of whom, I believe, will finally be reciting her memorized portion of The Ballad of the White Horse (a year late, due to chicken pox). Prayers for safe travel for all involved would be most appreciated.