A Letter to Harper Lee

“Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man

until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.

Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.”

Dear Ms. Harper Lee, harper lee

On Sunday afternoon, I finished reading your novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. 

For several weeks, it felt as though I walked the streets of Maycomb, Alabama. Gently, you led me by the hand through town, until I came to know the rows of houses and the people who lived there.

While Scout Finch narrated, I became acquainted with the mysterious rumors of Boo Radley. I observed old Mrs. Dubose when she hollered insults from her front porch. And I sat by her bedside, listening to Jem reading aloud.

When Dill Harris came to stay during the summer months, I engaged in mischief and mishaps. I gain advice from Miss Maudie, while she tended her garden. And I snuck inside the courthouse to hear Atticus defend Tom Robinson.

I found myself completely immersed in their world. Through the eyes of childhood innocence, you taught me the meaning of equality. The truest definition of courage. And to wait until it’s time to worry. Most importantly, I witnessed the perfect display of integrity and empathy in the character of Atticus Finch.

It has always been my belief that the very best stories are the ones that plant themselves and take root somewhere deep inside the heart of the reader. I will always remember why it is a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Yours admirably,

Tamara Black

 Harper Lee grew up in Monroeville, Alabama. Her father was an attorney. She lived down the street from Truman Capote, who became her lifelong friend, and was the inspiration for the character of Dill Harris.           To Kill a Mockingbird is her only published work.

The photograph was taken on set during the 1962 film adaption.
Further Reading: Lessons in Manliness from Atticus Finch


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