Updated: Apr 6
So I decided to do two reviews in one because I really couldn't decide. To Kill A Mockingbird is a classic that always needs remembering & Anthem is just a mind fuck that needs to be decoded and broken down. Hope you enjoy this double book review on To Kill A Mockingbird and Anthem.
Hi my loves! What does it mean to be innocent? What about not being able to be an individual? What if you had to only think collectively or else you'd be a sinner?
"At first, man was enslaved by the Gods. But he broke their chains. Then he was enslaved by the kings. But he broke their chains. He was enslaved by his birth, by his kin, by his race. But he broke their chains." (pg 101)
Innocence & Harper Lee
What does it mean to be innocent? Is it being a newborn, freshly into this world of ours with no means of being evil? Or is it being sheltered from life's hardships and being ignorant? Is there even 100% pure innocence? If you were raised to be a fucked up person, can you still be innocent-- innocent because it wasn't your choice to have certain parents and you didn't know any better or are you just evil because everyone has a choice?
To Kill a Mocking Bird- Why is it named that?
For starters, it's a story in the eyes of Scout, a white little girl living in a Southern town in the 1930s, a very poor and racist time. Atticus Finch (her father), is the lawyer for Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman.
It's weird because I can say this novel is one where I loved SOOO many of the characters.
Atticus- an intelligent man trying to raise his 2 kids to not be shit heads like the rest of the town. He's trying to teach them that everyone is equal. He's quiet, but when he speaks, everyone shuts up.
Scout- a bad ass little girl defying all the stereotypes. She doesn't want to make tea and gossip, she wants to play in the mud and argue with the boys. She's young but so wise for her age and she doesn't even know it. She doesn't understand racism because she can't fathom why someone would judge off of skin color. That being said, she also doesn't understand that "some things are just the way they are." Some things are deeply rooted and it's not fair.
Jem- her brother who's more sensitive but you can tell he's just trying to take care of his family.
Dill- I love Dill so much. He's Scout and Jem's friend and just so hilarious. He's kind of a liar though but not because he wants to be an ass, but because he wants to hide the painful truth. He causes a lot of trouble but with harmless intentions.
"It's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
Mockingbirds only make music for people to enjoy. This comes up multiple times in the novel. This ties with the main theme of innocence throughout the novel. Is Tom Robinson innocent? What about the kids messing with Boo Radley (a guy who never leaves his house), is that just all fun and games or do we stop and think about the abuse Boo maybe is getting from his family?
What about the kids in the novel who go to school with Scout & Jem? They are starving because of the Great Depression and some of them don't know how to read because their parents force them to work on the farm and miss school. Can you blame those kids for being ignorant and racist when they have no choice but to listen to their abusive family?
The irony that I'm writing this right now and birds are going crazy outside...
What if you lived in a society where you can't do anything as an individual? That means no loving another person, no sense of blood line, no sex (unless supervised by a weird orderly people), no creating, no thinking, no anything because if you do something remotely worth attention, you think you're better than the rest of the society. Yup, this is Anthem.
The novel follows Equality 7-2521 through his curiosity. He starts questioning the world around him and by this, he feels sinful and evil because that's what is taught. There's a theme of innocence here too. This society deprives the people of learning and growth and tells them it is EVIL to think, to speak against, etc. No members in the society have an identity (I can't see the word identity without thinking of the identity theft episode in The Office). This society has no electricity, no cars, very held back with a stone-age feel.
The society categorizes people into different jobs like "Street Sweepers," or "Council of Scholars." Equality 7-2521 wishes to be put in the council of scholars so he could have "permission," to think but instead gets put into the street sweepers. Equality 7-2521 meets a girl through street sweeping and feels shitty for falling in love with her, who he calls "Golden One," (giving a nickname is against the rules). He discovers a tunnel from the "Unspeakable Times," which the "Unspeakable Times" was like our modern day world with electricity and cars and etc. He does experiments in this tunnel for 2 years and discovers "new" scientific research like electricity. Then stuff starts going downhill when he shows his discovery to society and that I won't spoil.
It shows the path to freedom IS breaking the chains of conforming. It's relatable because he realizes he doesn't feel sinful for having ambitions, wanting to learn, needing to love. All he wants is some damn solitude and I know we can all feel that.
Reviewers relate this society to Ayn Rand & her "hatred," for Communist and Socialist governments. In the beginning of the book, Rand states she didn't want to this to be "Anti-Russian." And I personally see it as so much more than just "rebellion against government."
I like this novel because it shows that it IS OKAY TO WANT TO BE ALONE. Don't feel guilty for needing space, for needing personal time, hell for even being selfish for yourself. There are times where you NEED to put yourself first. I mean be humble, don't be a dick and only care about yourself, but have the ability to say no. Put your foot down when you're being treated poorly, never hold your tongue, and realize that no one is truly innocent.
Thanks for reading everyone! I'll link my Insta page which has short reviews and cute quotes.