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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by freejamesbrown, Feb 3, 2015.
I will read it out of curiosity and make up my own mind.....
Your comments beg an interesting question. Who needed to change their minds in 1960, White folks or African American folks? What would be the best vehicle to deliver that message to them, someone who they could identify with or someone who they did not know and maybe even feared AND may look to benefit from them changing their mind?
If the purpose was 'effect on target'... Atticus Finch is arguably (in 1960) more persuasive to an audience that might need to change their way of thinking than someone else, like Ralph Ellison.
Lilies of the field is from about that time and, like Jackie Robinson, Sidney Poiter was the right person to deliver that message... when you see that film (or read the book) while it was progressive for its time... now, there are challenges... to sensibilities and the bad things that rear view mirrors do to what is actually transpiring.
To see Mockingbird as a book solely about race is to miss its intent and to make it about a social issue and essentially a piece of wood... and the implication by the other professor that somehow the sales of mockingbird cut into the sales of langston hughes, well, it is good to be in the english department rather than the economics department!
This thread has been revealing to me in a way I would not have expected.... I'm glad that folks truly share their minds, I would never have anticipated what many of you have to say....
totally agreed with several above posters--its rare anywhere in america to take part in a level headed discussion about race and politics and culture, but especially on the internet!
Telecaster players are a step above!
Sidney Poitier was awarded an Academy Award for Best Actor in the film:
A) In the Heat of the Night
B) Lilies of the Field
BB King uses a solid state amp?
There probably was backlash of the kind you don't hear about, the Bob Ewell kind, that probably contributed to Harper Lee's withdrawing from the public eye.
On the one hand I can definitely see how someone could put Mockingbird into the "white savior narrative" trope. I don't think this criticism is as insignificant as some people are seeming to imply. On the other hand, lots of other well-written stories happen to fall in that sort of category.
I remember mostly enjoying the book, but I tend to agree with what Roger Ebert said about the story (in film version) which was:
I will definitely read Lee's new book when I have time!
There has been plenty of argument that she should be the co-author of In cold Blood, Capote's biggest hit. She read every word in draft and according to some accounts made really extensive changes. She was integral to the whole thing in really important ways and there's more than a little evidence to support the idea that she was deprived of credit for that book
That Ebert review is really excellent and pretty much nails it.
Rosewood vs. Maple?
Nitro vs. Poly?
To Kill A Mockingbird, yeah or neah?
It is cool to see what is a mostly a bunch of middle aged white guys (at least that is my impression) vigorously debating this book.
I never read it in school. But several years ago, I went on a kick to read a bunch of classic books I missed out on. I really enjoyed it. I remember reading it, waiting in the exam room for my doctor. I'll never forget his reaction to my reading it, incredulous.
I'm an engineer, so by definition my grasp of the English language is tenuous. I don't know if it was well written. I just liked it. And it came at just the right time in American history. The characters appealed to majority of America and helped ease the way for the civil rights movement. It was a little bit of lubricant in just the right place to help that big machine get going. Timing is everything you know.
That's where I was going...but it's been established that it's bull. She wrote the book.
yes, I have encountered this set of thoughts before, probably in the harper lee biography I read a few years back.
maybe she did have lots of input. but I think it's more that it's just hard to accept that an author could have the amount of success she had, but yet not ever write again. that just doesn't compute in our ways of thinking.
I mean, she could have published her darn laundry list and sold a fortune's worth.
this is a really good point.
...and she never saw him again.
Harper Lee publishes her first novel and wins the Pulitzer. How do you top that? Win it again? Unlikely. Maybe her creativity is exhausted or hampered.
In the story, Scout never sees Boo Radley again after that big night. Maybe there's a similarity there to the author's post-prize low profile.
Besides the connection with Truman Capote and Dill, there are several other shadows of Harper Lee's personal life in the book, that ring well with high school students, if not with literary critics.
Her father was a lawyer who served in the Alabama legislature. He was involved, when Nelle was young, with the "Scottsboro Boys" trial, in which several black boys were framed for rape--a capital crime--after a fight on a train they'd all hopped for Tennessee; two white girls lied on the stand. . .sound like food for a story?
I'll read her book if and when it comes out, whether it's great literature or not.
As an adult I finished an English major just a few years ago. Most Lecturers and faculty heads I met sounded as jaded and bitter as you do about books most wish they'd written themselves, but would never say so, because they weren't 'literary' enough.
Some seemed bitter about the fact they'd written far more 'worthy' books that no one ever bought.
I enjoyed Mockingbird immensely as a 12 year old, and again in my 40s, from the entirely different perspective of parent instead of child. That's something Don DeLilo will never manage. He's a College darling but his work is as shallow and self consciously clever as so many of those lording over him.
Look forward to the "new" one.
Literary types : America's greatest living authors are..?
If Jim Harrison wasn't among your top ten (and someone named "Patterson" was), I certainly don't want your opinion on "Mockingbird".
Interesting viewpoints in this thread though - for the most part
Greatest living writers?
I don't know about greatest, but I really like colson whitehead. The intuitionist is brilliant. I like ta-nehisi Coates as an essayist. I don't like the aura of tedious celebrity that surrounds him, but tc Boyle is a compelling writer. Most people would list toni Morrison: that's probably fair.
I agree. It's important to keep this in mind if you reread TKM today. It's not 1960, the goal posts have shifted.
Such an interesting thread. I think one reason both TKAM and Gatsby have risen to such prominence is that both, apparently, are quite teachable novels, ideally suited to high school literature classes; or, perhaps, it's just that the teaching of them has become so codified as to make them both default gold standards. I like 'em both, though.
Always loved Elmer Bernstein's theme…
oooh I love talk of people's favorite writers--I don't know who the greatest are, but here's my take:
And of course theres lots of folks who will say this is a crazy question, and I'm cool with that too. We're all just lucky to have way many more amazing books to choose from than we can possibly ever read.