How she + others impacted my life and the world.
Harper lee is the goddess of standalone’s (I’m counting to kill a mockingbird as a standalone, in my opinion Go set a watchmen is more of a companion book then a second in the series)
I read this book when I was 13. Stolen from my older sister who had it for school required reading and didn’t bother to even read it (the audacity of some people) *scoffs*
I devoured this, cried to it, laughed with it and then read it again. This was my first Adult novel I really loved in my teens, the first that made me think and influenced me in so many different ways.
Fast forward 3 years and my class was reading this for English, I jumped for joy and ran around squealing (in my head of course, real Casey was just sitting there grinning and hoping no one noticed) Que the collective sighs from the class about having to read something *gasps read something in English, oh my*.
There weren’t many people in my year that loved reading or English class. As much as I tried to get them to actually read the book I ended up just talking to them about it so they could answer the set questions and write an essay that was passable.
Don’t worry school got better in year 11. I was accepted in the year 12 lit class and LOVED every moment in it, just to implore to you how many people didn’t like English in my year there were only 5 people in that amazing class.
Harper lee taught me innocence, fairness, not to judge a book by its cover and how society isn’t what it seems. I have a strong dislike for authority figure (not teachers they are gods) but police, judges and government officials. Sometimes I feel like they think there part of The Mortal Instrument series “the law is hard but it is the law” NO! There are a millions shades of gray between the logic of crime and reason. Even when the truth is in front of everyone Maycomb county couldn’t make the simple distinction of right and wrong due to prejudice, pride, bigotry, racism and plain conformity.
If no one ever spoke up for fear of being looked at funny or treated differently where would we be today?
There are many wonders like Harper lee who have all changed the world. People who have stood up no matter the consequence and demanded to be heard, equality and basic human rights! what would we be without events like:
The Stonewall riots
In the ’50s and ’60s in America, the police regularly raided gay establishments and shut them down, but when they raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in 1969, the crowd spontaneously decided to fight back. The ensuing riots are now widely considered to be the start of the modern gay rights movement.
Unfortunately Australia is still run by a bunch of ignorant people and haven’t legalized LGBT rights which is absolutely appalling and needs to be changed RIGHT now.
Rosa Parks on a Montgomery bus
This photo of Rosa Parks was taken the day after the legal integration of Montgomery’s bus system. This advance was the direct result of a boycott of the city’s buses initiated after Parks refused to move to the back of the bus.
This iconic photo was taken during a Vietnam War protest in Washington, DC. When a squad of National Guard members kept the protesters from approaching the Pentagon, a number of famous photos were taken, including the one above of 17-year-old Jan Rose Kasmir by French photographer Marc Riboud, and also this one of an unknown protester. Kasmir was part of the pacifist “Flower Power” movement.
Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech
MLK, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is widely considered one of the most powerful of all time, and encapsulates the entire civil rights movement he was fighting for.
Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
The 1936 Olympics were supposed to be a showcase for Hitler’s Germany, and in many ways, were a great success for the Führer. But American runner Jesse Owens—deemed “subhuman” according to Nazi doctrine—won four gold medals, and reportedly left Hitler furious.
Suffragettes in London
Women’s suffrage was achieved (much later than is remotely okay) because of early women’s rights activists like these.
The White Rose
The White Rose was a German pacifist resistance group in Munich. They dropped leaflets in favor of freedom of speech and freedom of religion all across the country until, in 1943, the six most prominent members were captured and beheaded by the Gestapo.
Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Disgusted with the war in Vietnam, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg decided, at great personal risk, to leak the Pentagon Papers, a set of documents that revealed the administration knew how destructive and unwinnable the war would be. The leak not only helped turn public opinion against the war, but set several legal precedents for whistleblowers and freedom of the press.
Malala Yousafzai shot
After actively campaigning for the right of young girls to go to school, at age 14, Malala Yousafzai was tracked down and shot in the head by the Taliban. She managed to survive and, despite further threats, has continued to campaign for girls’ education in Afghanistan.
Elizabeth Eckford goes to school
Elizabeth Eckford was a member of the Little Rock 9—the first group of black students to be allowed into Little Rock’s segregated school system. In this picture, she calmly walks to school while being pursued by a hostile white mob.
Horace Greasley confronts Himmler
British POW Horace Greasley was a badass. He escaped the Nazi war camp he was in 200 times as part of a love affair, and when Himmler toured the camp, he confronted him, as seen in this picture.
A child vs. austerity
After the 2008 crash, some European nations instituted serious austerity measures, which were met with protests. During one such action, this child walked up to the riot police and handed them a heart-shaped balloon.
These events have been lead by people standing up for themselves and others and impacting the world. Thats what To kill a Mockingbird was to me, it represented all these events and made me the person I am today. Unafraid to state my opinion and state it loudly no matter the “consequences” no I haven’t done anything close to any of these amazing people but I have changed a few peoples opinions and open there eyes to how the world is and what it could be if we all stopped worring about what others will think of us, be accepting and love others.
To Kill A Mocking bird is a 5 out of 5 star book and if you were one of the students in English who didn’t read it I implore you to pick it up or if you’ve never heard of it (it shocks me beyond belief people have never heard of this book but what can you do) Read it! or if you read it for school just to answer the questions read it again as an adult it is beautiful.
My copy of To kill a mocking bird is in tatters being 13 years old and read over and over I’m planning on buying a new copy very soon. If you’d like to pick one up you can get yours from the Book Depository here
Rest In peace Harper Lee you are forever immortalized in the literary world and touched many lives with you writing.
Thank you to whomever read this the whole way through I didn’t mean for it to be such a long post but I had way to much to say 🙂
Let me know your thoughts on any of these events, what has changed your life? What still needs changing and how we can all help.
I’ll leave you with this:
“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
*please note the reference text and photos are from Matador and you can see the original post here
3 thoughts on “Harper Lee + others; An appreciation post”
To Kill A Mockingbird also had a big impact on me as a young adult. I loved how it wrestled with so many complex issues while also being fun to read. It never felt preachy, though it had so many great messages. My personal favorite quote from the book–and one I have returned to throughout my adult life–is when Atticus says ““The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
I think Harper Lee also gets major bonus points for helping Truman Capote bring another one of my favorite books, In Cold Blood, to life. I know Lee didn’t write it, but her assistance was instrumental in Capote researching the book. I firmly believe In Cold Blood would have never happened if “Nelle” hadn’t been there for her childhood friend.
Also, thanks so much for mentioning Horace Greasley! I love history, especially WWII history, but had never heard of this guy before reading this. What an amazing story!
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Thankyou so much for reading all this and this wonderful comment! To kill a mocking bird is so quotable I had trouble deciding on just one 😊 There are so many amazing people in the world I had a hard time not putting to many people in this post but Horace Greasley was an amazing man 😊
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