Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Story - To Kill A Mockingbird

Cover of the book showing title in white letters against a black background in a banner above a painting of a portion of a tree against a red backgroundI know it's old, and not an erotic story, but my classics book club decided we'd re-read To Kill A Mockingbird ahead of Harper Lee's new release.

I was scared to re-read it. It was one of my favourite books at school and I wasn't sure it would stand the test of time - would I like it still as an adult with so many different experiences and knowledge behind me?

I read it hesitantly...but I'm pleased to say that I still loved it. That's given me confidence to re-read some of my other favourites now :)

But it also brought up some issues. Not only the book, but a friend's comment about her child have added to my thoughts. My friend's child said he admired his mother's convictions and the way she fought for what she believed in. This is one of the themes in the book too, so it was already on my mind.

When I was a child, I had so many righteous convictions. I wrote letters to everyone you could possibly imagine to tell them what I thought about a particular topic - newspapers, politicians, the Queen, even the Pope. The Pope is memorable because of the simplicity of my idea. I'd heard something about the Pope condemning Santa Claus and I was horrified (forget what age I was but maybe 10 or so). I wrote to him and told him that if more people believed in Santa, the world might be a better place because Santa was the epitome of the generosity of spirit the world lacked - Santa went out of his way to give gifts to every child in the world regardless of their race, creed, colour, financial status, all off his own bat. If the Pope encouraged the belief in Santa, people might be a bit nicer. (Of course my wording would have been much different but the sentiment was that).

At Uni I was involved in much letter-writing and activism, mostly on environmental issues as that's what I was studying, but I was also interested in humanity and Amnesty International caught my interest too.

And now...I'm the biggest fence-sitter in the world. What happened to me in those 20 years?

I've been trying to come up with an answer...and I can't. I don't remember a single incident where I became disenchanted or anything, but over the years I've slowly waned in fighting for what I believe in, and I've turned it all internal. I rarely express a heated or devisive opinion. I prefer to leave everyone to their own opinions and not discuss it.

I know my opinions often differ to the maybe over time this wore me down. Maybe the fact that no action was taken on most things I fought for also wore me down. I don't know.

I'm cynical. And Silent.

I'd like to think if I was handed a difficult trial, like Atticus Finch was, I'd rise to the challenge and fight hard for what was right. But I think I'd be more like Miss Maudie and keep away from the trial when you don't believe you'll win, and my biggest protest would be making little veiled comments to people.

But it saddens me to think that as an adult I've lost my fight for what's right. Although, it was hinted at in the book. Jem was distraught after the trial, sobbing inconsolably because he believed right would be done because his father had proved what had happened. When right didn't prevail, Jem couldn't understand, railed against it, then went quiet as he tried to process the world he was living in. Atticus explained this to Scout, and said that Jem would come back to normal when he understood what happened.

I think I'd prefer to be like Jem pre-understanding the world, where he railed against injustice...but maybe that isn't sustainable. Maybe part of growing up is recognising that the world is not fair and there isn't a lot you can do about the big picture, you can only change your little patch.

I don't know the answer...but I miss having convictions. I miss voicing my opinion. Maybe I need to rant more on my blog to find my beliefs again. Then maybe I can fight in a bigger patch.

Do you fight for what you believe in? Has this changed as you've gotten older?

No comments:

Post a Comment