Compassionate, sensational, and thought-provoking, To Kill a Mockingbird remains a classic of American literature since it was first published in 1960. Though the novel takes place in the 1930s, its lessons about race, prejudice, and gender are as relevant today as they were back then. However, how long does it take to read Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book?
It takes an average reader reading at a speed of 300 words per minute, 6 hours and 17 minutes to read To Kill a Mockingbird. However, depending on your reading speed and how involved you get in the story, it could take 5 to 8 hours to finish.
So, if you’re looking for a classic novel to curl up with on a long weekend or car ride, why not give To Kill a Mockingbird a try? You might find yourself captivated by the lessons it has to teach about race, class, and gender. Read on as I explore this topic in-depth, including the book’s length, synopsis, and main themes.
How Long Is To Kill a Mockingbird?
To Kill a Mockingbird has 336 pages in the standard paperback edition, which amounts to around 100,388 words. It has 31 chapters divided into two parts. The first part has 11 chapters, and the second has 20.
Read more here about Why Do Books Have Chapters?
Harper Lee weaves a simple yet powerful story of a white lawyer in the deep south of the United States who defends a black man accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Through the eyes of his daughter, Scout, we see the trial from start to finish and the town’s reaction to it.
Today, the novel has been translated into over 40 languages and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. It’s been made into an Academy-Award-winning film and a Broadway play, and it is part of the reading curriculum in many high school and college English classes. It’s a classic must-read for anyone.
To Kill a Mockingbird Synopsis
To Kill a Mockingbird takes an analytical view of the roots of human behavior –– specifically racism and prejudice. The novel takes place in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930s.
The novel follows the story of Atticus Finch, a white lawyer who defends a black man, Tom Robinson, accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman. Even though Atticus knows Robinson is innocent, he faces racism and hatred from the townspeople.
The trial is a significant plot point, but the story is about the relationships between white and black people in the deep south during that time. Atticus Finch is a moral man who believes in justice and equality. His daughter Scout, the main character, is a tomboy who learns about the world around her through the lens of her father’s compassion.
While Atticus presents a strong court case, the jury still finds Tom Robinson guilty. To Kill a Mockingbird explores how good and evil coexist within an individual or community. Its central message is that sometimes, even with the best intentions, justice is not always served.
Main Themes of To Kill a Mockingbird
A theme in a literary piece of work is the main idea, moral, or message the author is trying to deliver. The themes in To Kill a Mockingbird are timeless and universal, which is likely one of the reasons the book has remained popular for many years.
Main themes include:
Racism and Prejudice
Centered around the trial of a black man accused of a crime he didn’t commit, To Kill a Mockingbird sheds light on the racism and prejudice rampant in the deep south during the 1930s.
Atticus Finch represents the town’s moral compass, and his beliefs are put to the test when he has to defend Tom Robinson. Through the character of Scout, we see how a child’s innocence allows her to see people for who they are, regardless of skin color.
Strong-willed and determined, Atticus Finch is a man who stands up for what he believes in, even when it’s not popular. He takes on the Tom Robinson case despite the threat of violence from the townspeople.
He revolts against the racist system, even though he risks his life. In the end, Atticus’s ambition and courage help him survive the backlash and regains his lost respect and dignity. Being ambitious for the right cause will always be worth the fight.
Loss of Innocence
Jem and Scout Finch begin the novel as young, naïve children who don’t understand the hate and prejudice in their town. They learn about the ugly side of human nature through the Tom Robinson trial and their father’s battle against racism.
By the novel’s end, both Jem and Scout have lost their innocence but also gained a better understanding of the world around them.
Most Critical Paragraph In To Kill a Mockingbird
“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
This quote, spoken by Atticus Finch, is one of the most critical passages in To Kill a Mockingbird. It highlights Atticus’s beliefs about racism and prejudice. He compares a mockingbird’s innocence to Tom Robinson’s innocence.
Like the bird, Robinson has done nothing wrong but is still treated poorly because of the color of his skin. This quote is a powerful reminder that we should all strive to see people for who they are, not what they look like on the outside.
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is a timeless, thought-provoking, and powerful novel. Intertwined with themes of racism, prejudice, and loss of innocence, the story of Atticus Finch and his daughter Scout will stay with you long after you finish reading. Curl up with a copy of this classic today for a quick read and see why it’s still one of the most beloved books of all time.