It's still a sin to kill a mockingbird: A critical assessment of “To Kill A Mockingbird”
Nearly fifty years after its publication, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and its protagonist Atticus Finch continue to receive recognition from literary critics, legal scholars, high school students, and college theatre departments. Living by the motto to "walk around in others' skins" before passing judgment on them, Atticus becomes his children's hero and his community's mentor. He is not, however, the traditional hero and mentor. Atticus is quite different from his male peers and thus represents a new definition of masculinity. Furthermore, as a parent who respects his children as if they were adults, Atticus encourages self-identity rather than gender conformity. As decent and honest as Atticus is, however, he is not without prejudices that disqualify him as a modern day racial hero. Nevertheless, Atticus Finch and To Kill a Mockingbird still rightfully deserve a spot in secondary curriculum as a novel that encourages students to respect humanity and love themselves.