Why “To Kill a Mockingbird” is Still Relevant Today

When Harper Lee announced that she was releasing a sequel to her award winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, I was super pumped.  As a former English teacher and total book nerd, this news was pretty fantastic. My only trepidation is how could she possibly top her first (and only) novel?

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite pieces of literature. I probably read it in high school (although I don’t recollect) and I taught the novel every year during my seven year stint as a high school English teacher. Every year, I would re-read the novel, and find a different part that resonated with me. The book contains so many inspiring messages that young adults can benefit from and my students enjoyed a healthy debate. They would connect what happened in the story with what was happening in their current lives.

How many novels have messages that are still relevant today?

The novel is rich with inspirational quotes but these two are my favorites:

Courage

Getty Images / iStockphoto / absolut_100

Often times, people are quick to judge others solely based on what they see from the outside. Social media is largely to blame nowadays. People post pictures and others instantly make assumptions. I taught my students that you should get to know others before judging them. Just because you think someone may have it all together, doesn’t mean that they necessarily do. Be considerate of others and see it from their point of view before you point a finger.

Courage

Getty Images / iStockphoto / nopparit

Mrs. Dubose knew she was going to die, yet she still wanted to kick her morphine habit. Atticus knew he would lose the trial, but he still offered to defend Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson knew he would likely get caught, but he tried to escape from jail anyways.

It doesn’t matter if you think you may fail at something. The most important thing is that you try.

My students always had a hard time grasping this concept; why wouldn’t these characters just give up? Why try if you know you are going to fail? I taught them that courageous people are the ones who try regardless of the outcome. They want to succeed, but if they don’t, at least they gave it a shot.

What are your favorite quotes/parts from this novel?

Check out more quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird the Buzzfeed article here.