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On the death of Harper Lee

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I am sure that most school children in this country have read To Kill a Mockingbird since it is part of the great American literary scene​. The story line is compelling in that it addresses the complexities of childhood in the Southland and the ever present racism of the time...but there is more.

Since it's publication in the early 1960's, Harper Lee remained reclusive despite her popularity...and that has caused a good deal of curiosity about her personal life. Since her death this past week we are once again focused on her personal life and the concepts behind her writing. ​The following article is speculative at best:


Will we ever know the truth, does it matter? I have read some wonderful gay fiction written by straight authors so it seems the nature of a writer's sexuality is not always relevant. I do agree with this article that Harper Lee's characters in Mockingbird were unusual, perhaps leaning towards a different sexuality, but then they were quite young and ambiguous in nature.

I also agree that each reader comes away with their own ideas regarding characterization in the story. There is much to absorb​ and this is why the book should be required reading in schools for the next hundred years.

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Much to absorb and written so adeptly much of it simply is background music or a barely noticed patina. It's written with charm and nostalgia and childhood wonderment and a soft aura like her capturing of the warm summer days smelling of talcum powder. It's sad that such a talent restricted herself to one novel.

I don't count the Watchman book. It wasn't her intention it ever be published.


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