Harper Lee, American novelist best known for her debut novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” died recently at the age of 89. Her death was unexpected as she passed away in her sleep early morning last Friday.
Born on April 28, 1926, Lee made her name immortal with her very first novel that is a storey of justice and race. The story’s images got seared into its readers. Many schools have added the novel to the syllabus of course on Ethics in Literature. Those who do not read the novel in middle school; they read it in high school. It has thus firmly got installed in the popular culture.
The story of Scout Finch’s Alabama youth and her father’s bold but damned defense of a black man accused of raping a white woman attracted an unprecedented number of reads. It became one of the best-selling novels of all time, with estimated 40 million copies sold.
Legal scholar Thomas Shaffer said, “The millions of people who like To Kill a Mockingbird are not analytical about their liking it. The story of Atticus Finch appeals in an immediate way to people. . . . He is a hero.”
Published in 1960, the novel quickly sold 500,000 copies, and Life magazine quoted a thrilled neighbor predicting that the marvelous story would fetch Lee one of those prestigious awards.
In 1961, Lee received Pulitzer Prize and became classic of modern American literature. In 2007, she received the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature.