Tag Archives: Harper Lee

Beware of Literature’s Purity Police

Laura Moriarty’s “American Heart” has been attacked for being a white savior narrative. Such stories should in fact be critiqued, but the attackers are often a bigger problem.

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Mockingbird Discomfits the Wrong People

If teachers should teach controversial lit to discomfit their students, is “To Kill a Mockingbird” a good choice? There’s a problem if those most discomfited are black students.

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Foes of Mockingbird Have a Point

I’m somewhat sympathetic with the Biloxi parents who want to ban “To Kill a Mockingbird” in an 8th grade classroom. At the very least, I want it supplemented with works by writers of color.

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Obama’s Problematic Allusion to Atticus

In his farewell speech, Obama quoted Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” In light of the white backlash against having had a black president, however, the Atticus Finch of “Go Set a Watchman comes to mind, making Obama’s allusion seem a bit weak.

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Toni Morrison: White Panic Led to Trump

As Toni Morrison sees it, William Faulkner’s observations about white panic go a long way toward explaining Trump’s victory.

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Harper Lee’s Book Became Less Honest

“Gp Set a Watchman” is not as polished a book as “To Kill a Mockingbird” but it is more ambitious and more honest. Something important got lost in the editing process.

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Top 10 Parent-Child Classics (Positive)

A top ten list of classics with positive depictions of parent-child relationships.

Posted in Dickens (Charles), Eliot (George), Hughes (Langston), Lee (Harper), Stowe (Harriet Beecher) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

In Solitary Others We See Ourselves

When a Maine hermit is arrested after 27 years in solitude, we project our stories upon him.

Posted in Defoe (Daniel), Lee (Harper), Oliver (Mary) | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Harper Lee’s White Liberal Fantasy

Important though it was, “To Kill a Mockingbird” was also a white liberal fantasy.

Posted in Baldwin (James), Lee (Harper) | Also tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The White Liberal in Civil Rights Lit

White Liberals suffer a downward spiral in 1960’s Civil Rights Literature, from heroic Atticus Finch to “Radical Chic” Leonard Bernstein.

Posted in Baldwin (James), Lee (Harper), Wolfe (Tom) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

America’s Avian Maestro, the Mockingbird

Tom Robbins and Scott Bates regard the mockingbird as an emblem for the consummate artist.

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Teaching Kids to Stand Up to Bullies

Michael Gerson writes that “Lord of the Flies” gives kids a picture of the bullying they experience and “To Kill a Mockingbird” the courage to stand up to it.

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Analyzing Loughner’s Booklist

Like much of America, I am still in a state of shock over Saturday’s shooting of a Congresswoman, a judge, and 16 others. Like many I wonder if this was an example of a disturbed mind encountering the inflamed political rhetoric that has come to characterize American political discourse. (Add Arizona’s permissive gun laws into […]

Posted in Aesop, Baum (L. Frank), Bradbury (Ray), Bukowski (Charles), Carroll (Lewis), Hemingway (Ernest), Hesse (Hermann), Hitler (Adolph), Homer, Huxley (Aldous), Juster (Norton(, Kesey (Ken), Lee (Harper), Orwell (George), Plato, Rand (Ayn) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

On Obama, Lincoln, and Compromise

Saturday’s New York Times had a column by African American novelist Ishmael Reed attacking those leftists that are excoriating President Obama for his willingness to extend the Bush tax cuts in return for a second stimulus package. What particularly galls Reed is that many of these critics refer to themselves as Obama’s base (as in, […]

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Mockingbird, Powerful but Problematic

Harper Lee  National Public Radio reminded me yesterday that this summer is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I have written a couple of times about the book, once talking about its importance to me growing up in the segregated south and once examining Malcolm Gladwell’s critique of […]

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How Racism Sullies Everything

If race has been the subject of these past two weeks of posting it is because, as a Sherrilyn Ifil article notes in the on-line publication Root, we are having a hard time talking about race this summer, what with the furor over the Sonia Sotomayor nomination and the Henry Louis Gates affair.  I haven’t […]

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Mockingbird’s Race Limitations

  An interesting Malcolm Gladwell article in the most recent New Yorker has complicated my views of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which I posted on last week.  I now better understand why the book, while a comfort to me as a child going through the desegregation battles, proved so inadequate when I went […]

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Desegregation Tales from My Childhood

  I mentioned yesterday the debt I owe to the NAACP, which this year is celebrating its 100-year anniversary.  Today I will talk about some of my past history with the organization, along with a discussion of how Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird helped me in some difficult years during the Civil Rights era. I’ve […]

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