To Kill A Mockingbird
At the beginning of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout and her brother Jem are preoccupied with school, friends, and the spooky home of the mysterious Boo Radley. But this innocence is turned on its head when their father, a well-respected lawyer named Atticus Finch, agrees to defend a local black man, Tom Robinson, from a false rape charge. The children’s eyes are opened to the brutality and injustice of the racism in their hometown – and across the rest of the USA. For many readers, the lessons they learn from their father contain some of the most poignant messages of American literature.
The white residents of Maycomb, Alabama, are determined to find Tom guilty of rape, despite the clear evidence in his favour. Fifty years after the novel was first published, racism is still a deep-rooted problem in American society.
Racism still rampant as King is remembered
Tomorrow, exactly 90 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr was born. All around the world over the coming days, the great civil rights leader will be honoured. But has his dream come true?
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Jem is jaded and disillusioned after Tom’s conviction by the town’s racist residents. Even with the best legal minds on your side, says the novel, sometimes the justice system is simply unfair.
Democracy is in crisis, says major new report
Is democracy in trouble? Politicians don’t listen and political opinions divide. A new survey shows that people in developed countries are more and more unhappy with their political system.
Alabama passes USA’s strictest abortion ban
Alabama’s new bill would outlaw abortion from the moment of conception, even in cases of rape and incest. It has sparked global outrage and fear for the future of women’s rights in America.
Scout starts the novel as a young tomboy who would rather endure anything than be forced to wear a dress. As she grows up and faces the harsh realities of her hometown, she may lose some of her innocence – but her father does his best to keep her goodness intact.
Don’t lie about Christmas, warn psychologists
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Reality show tracks tangled lives of Sixties children
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The fascinating, undying power of curiosity
Could curiosity be the most important human attribute? It lets us transform chaos into questions, boredom into wisdom, and allows us to find pleasure in the mysteries of the Universe.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view,” Atticus tells Scout. Learning empathy is the most important moral message of To Kill A Mockingbird, and it reveals a world where good and evil are not always as simple as we think.
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Teen heroes amaze, delight and kindle hope
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Gentle giants of joy, anger, grief and love
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“I wanted you to see what real courage is,” says Atticus. “It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” The strength of Atticus’s convictions are one of the most inspiring aspects of the novel. Who inspires us today?
Free speech ‘in greatest peril since WW2’
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