Why Should We Continue to Teach To Kill A Mockingbird in Our English Classes?

Regan Bosley, Reporter

The many racist and conflicting topics that are present in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird causes many schools to want to ban the book from their curriculum. However, I believe that the book should be taught for years to come. 


The premise of To Kill a Mockingbird is that a respectable, white father, Atticus Finch, is tasked with defending the case of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white girl. 


This book follows the point of view of Scout, a young girl and the daughter of Finch who is learning the true values and morals of the society around her, and deciding whether those values are truly good or evil. 


However, some schools are trying to ban this book from their curriculum because of the racist comments in the novel. 


You can find a thorough listing of times the book has been challenged or banned here.


In my opinion, the book neither promotes racism nor criminalizes it. Many literary works in curriculums across the world contain conflict. Therefore, ridding all works of literature containing topics of conflict would be virtually impossible.


To Kill a Mockingbird teaches children in schools about oppression, and it’s vital that kids learn this so we don’t repeat the same mistakes we have made in the past,” said sophomore Jillian Hockley.


Another major point in favor of this classic’s place in our schools is that this book is a historical piece, and it can be a beneficial lesson to the average student about how discrimination evolved over time.


Even the foul language depicted in the book can be a lesson, mainly centered around how language like this was considered ‘okay’ to use in the past, but how language can evolve and carry more profound power now than it may have then. 


Another argument that is made by those who want to ban the work is that the overall taboo topic of rape can make some students feel uncomfortable.


While every teacher and school wants to make students comfortable with the knowledge that they are presented with, the book is important to be taught due to the fact that students need to be well informed about the evils in the world, even if that evil is difficult to be talked about.


Beyond the interesting and intriguing plot of the book, I think that the lessons written in the book are the aspects most important to teach and be taught; as teachers may be able to inform and hopefully change the sometimes prejudiced minds of my generation.


To Kill a Mockingbird  explores many important morals that need to be introduced into the minds of the average, teenage student. These themes and morals include showing the value of empathy and understanding differences between people.


If this book is to be banned in our school curriculum at any point in time, I would personally be enraged and saddened. In addition, it would detrimentally affect the minds of young readers across the country.