Portage Township Media

The Student News Site of Portage High School

Portage Township Media

Portage Township Media

To Kill Reading A Mockingbird?

Portage High School teachers and students reflect on the legacy of “To Kill A Mockingbird” and whether or not it’s time to move on from the classic.
To Kill Reading A Mockingbird?

The topic of whether books can age has been recently discussed, with To Kill A Mockingbird one of the books in question. Some argue that, like Romeo and Juliet, TKAM is a reflection of a past era. The original purpose of the book is up for debate in our current society, with some questioning whether it does an adequate job of portraying racial prejudice. Additionally, there are concerns about whether students and teachers have differing opinions about the book. TKAM is frequently discussed in Language Arts classes, with varying opinions held by students and teachers alike.

Ms. Reimbold is an English teacher at Portage High School, and recently, her class finished TKAM.

“I actually really like this book because it has a lot of meaningful themes and messages–and no it doesn’t meet today’s standards. I can appreciate it for some of its qualities beyond those issues,” Reimbold said. “However, I think we can find a lot of those same themes and messages and a book that’s more timely.”

Ms. Reimbold is not alone in that opinion. Camila Nino, a freshman, has stated, “Racism is still around, and the point of the book is to spread awareness about what was going on during that time. But there are other books that can do that.”

Story continues below advertisement

Our society has changed dramatically, and this book isn’t catching up anytime soon. Nino expressed her concerns over how characters are portrayed in the story, highlighting how our conversation around race and racism has changed since the book was published in the 1950s.

“It tries to make Atticus [Finch] more of a white savior. Plus, there are so many complex characters in To Kill A Mockingbird, but if you really look at it, all the complex characters have so many layers to them are white. Compared to Tom Robinson, for example, and other  black characters in the book, there’s barely any story or much depth to them,” Nino said.

If you have read it, TKAM has many white characters with rich stories; even the outcast of the town, Boo Radley, has his own story. Tom Robinson, a black man who was wrongfully convicted of disgusting acts, is just known for that. 

Why are we still reading this book? English teachers, why? Is it because you think this book will make us want to read more? Yes, it is important to learn about racial injustice, and yes, it’s important to learn about gender bias. But why must we read this book specifically, a book that was intended to represent our society and our discourse about race and racism 64 years ago? So many students and this generation have grown far ahead of this book. We shouldn’t wait for the book, but to continue moving forward and find more books that are closer to our generation and our world today.

View Comments (1)
Donate to Portage Township Media

Your donation will support the student journalists of Portage High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Portage Township Media

Comments (1)

All Portage Township Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • L

    Leanna MonteiroApr 30, 2024 at 8:48 pm

    This is a great article, Kennedy! It has always bothered me that we don’t study very many books that are written by people of color and are told from their perspective. English/literary studies is all about understanding how writers use storytelling to create a message or demonstrate their interpretation of the world! Why can’t we see the world through the eyes of someone of color? Especially as a POC myself, I would like to see more diversity in our assigned readings.