Reading of great books has, all through the ages, been recognized as the most powerful contributor to the development of an individual’s personality. The great thinkers and the philosophers of the world have often identified the role of good books as an influential reformer of personal life and attitude. One of such great books that have influenced my understanding of the world attitude towards others, and me is To Kill a Mockingbird, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee. The novel is specifically important for me as it created, for the first time in my little reading career, an intense desire to read ever so many books with such influencing power.
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I was fascinated by the ideas of the coexistence of good and evil, racial and social injustice, the role of gender, tolerance, and prejudice. These characteristic features of the novel had great impact on me as there was considerable change in my world-view and thinking. This change was reflected in my attitude towards other and I began to see things in their totality rather than living with distorted views and attitudes. My understanding of innocence, the moral nature of human beings, especially in relation to the concepts of good and evil, the issues related to social inequality and the like was very much changed and I began to experience these concepts in my day-to-day life.
The most striking influence of the book on my understanding of the universe was that I came to the true realization of man’s moral nature. The author is very powerful in portraying the transition of the characters of Scout and Jem, from innocence of the childhood where they believe that people are good because they have never seen evil to the ultimate experience of where they confront evil and assimilate this perception to their world knowledge.
This world is one where the people who do not accept evil, like the characters of Tom Robinson and Boo Radley in the novel, perish. I came to the consciousness of this peculiar nature of the world which produces all kinds of evils related to racism, hatred, prejudice, ignorance pose, and other sort of hazards to innocence. This is a crude realization which I, like many other readers of the novel, came to acknowledge that there exist in every man the elements of innocence or good as well as evil.
A realization of this sort would, in any human being, bring about changes in the perspectives of the general nature of things, especially with regard to one’s awareness about others and oneself. The same happened in my case and I began to see people as they are. I can also appreciate the person I really am.
This is a revolutionary change in my attitude and perspective as I was a kind of person who would blame anything and everything in the world without the right apprehension of the nature of things. Now the situation, the world, and the people remain the same; but I can view the reality behind every situation, happening, and behavior of people in a wider worldview. This is a drastic change that was brought about by different elements, the most significant among them being, as I would always admit and acknowledge, the novel by Harper Lee. The power of book is really amazing.
Thus, I would, ever, be one of the many champions of the strength of books in the change of one’s awareness of the world, of others, and of oneself. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the books that would prompt people to acknowledge the power of reading. The world view that one acquires from such legendary works is hundred times greater than the experience from conquering the entire world. This is the real power of writing and the same is the greatness of reading.
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