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It’s hard knowing that people can hide so much badness inside themselves, people you think you know and love.
Hiram Hillburn is a troubled teenager who returns to Mississippi after a long absence to spend time with his grandfather but he is disappointed to discover that all is not as he remembered as he gets caught up in a murder trial (which actually took place) after an African-American boy is murdered.
What I really enjoyed about this book was that a big part of it was the relationships between father and son and grandfather and grandson, as well as Hiram’s realisations and conclusions about racism and prejudice. If you’re going to read any book like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, then I really recommend this one!
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I used to comfort myself with the belief that it was only certain individuals and their peculiar notions that spoilt things for the rest of us. But how many individuals does it take before it’s not the individuals who are prejudiced but society itself?
The dark-skinned ‘Crosses’ are in charge and supposedly superior in every way to the pale-skinned ‘Noughts’. Sephy, born to a life of privilege and opportunity, remains in contact with Callum, her childhood friend with no hope and a life filled with struggles. A forbidden romance blooms between the two but their worlds are full of danger, prejudice and so much negativity that any future seems doomed.
Although this is counted as dystopian fiction, it is powerful and thought-provoking because a) it could happen like this and b) it has happened so many times already.
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Ever morning, until you dead in the ground, you gone have to make this decision. You gone have to ask yourself, “Am I gone believe what them fools say about me today?”
The thing I loved about this book, is that while much of its focus is on the struggles of the African-American population, especially those who work as maids, it also explored the lives of other marginalised groups from this time period. Miss Skeeter is a middle class white woman who wants more than to just be a housewife and a decoration for her husband. She reminds me a little of Scout with her wish to be a person first and a girl second.
The plot is simple: Miss Skeeter and a few dissatisfied maids meet in secret to write a book discussing their lives and while the fall-out is as expected, it is hurtful and scary all the same. Another great thing? You can really imagine these different people talking and almost hear their voices.
The following two novels still explore similar themes of prejudice and discrimination but focus less on issues of race and racism.
Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place.
Set in a similar time period to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, Steinbeck instead examines the lives of a group of ranch hands searching for the ‘American Dream’ and the prejudices they live with on a daily basis. Issues of race, age, gender and disability are explored in this equally classic and famous tale and one that has been a favourite in classrooms everywhere for decades.
I didn’t really enjoy or ‘get’ this novel while reading it at school, but re-reading it as an adult I can see Steinbeck’s message far more clearly and appreciate his ideas.
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He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him!
This famous play captures the hysteria, confusion and suspicion of the Salem Witch Trials, focusing on a seemingly ordinary couple struggling to keep their marriage going, who find themselves in the middle of the drama and terror of the trials, and who try to do the right thing.
I found this play to be captivating and immensely emotional, and I really recommend it to anyone who enjoyed ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ and has any interest in witches and the witch trials.
One idea linking all these novels together is that of a group of people or individuals fighting for their rights or fighting to do the right thing.
Hopefully you have enjoyed the thought-provoking nature of these novels and I hope that you will share your thoughts about these terrific titles, as well as recommending any other books like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ you think should be on this list.
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