To Kill a Mockingbird: A Personal Journey

I was around 10 when I saw the movie “To Kill a Mocking Bird” on PTV in 1971-72. That was the time when I didn’t focus on the dialogues but used to only concentrate on the emotions and feelings depicted. We didn’t have access to Internet or magazines with briefs about the programs or movies being shown on the PTV. There used to be a flyer but often it only listed the titles but not details. However, I could sense even at that early age that what I had seen is not a typical run of the mill movie, but I had gone through a tremendous and profound experience. It would be a decade later when I would find out about how much acclaim the movie had won through a book that I issued from the American Center library. This was an attractive pictorial history of cinema and from there I discovered that this movie had won the Oscar for the best picture in 1960, and Gregory Peck had won the Oscar for the best actor.  One of his three roles that made him my all time favorite actor (the other two were in Roman Holiday and Guns of Navarone). I also read the book on which this movie was based around the same time. The book and this movie had a tremendous impact on me as described here:

During those times of pre-VCR and digital libraries, when we used to see a movie on TV, it used to be with the assumption that it was an opportunity that we may never encounter again. There is no way that an old movie would come to cinemas again, and there were no video libraries. This made me to make sure that I read ALL the credits including name of the book, if any on which the movie is abased, and its author’s name also. I did make a mental note of the name of this movie. In 1981-82, I finally chanced upon this book in the British Council Library, Karachi. I started reading it during  my return trip from Rauf Mamoo‘s place in Hyderabad and can even visualize that bus trip. I can still recall those wonderful few days that were spent reading the book. I can still see in my hand that book with paper-back whose cover had been reinforced with plastic coating. The book had a tremendous impression on me. I later got the opportunity to see the movie again on projector screen at American Center Library auditorium during 1983-84 as part of the screening  of the great American classic feature films series. I went to USA in 1987 and got the video cassette issued from UT Austin video library and saw it again in 1988. I had seen the movie several times since with my family members. And had seen at it at least one time each with each of  my five children. I have read the book at least three times again.

    I often reflect on what makes this book so deeply fascinating for me. I think it is about the experience of a child’s growing sense of reality and complexities of life. It is said that all writing is autobiographical.  Harper E Lee while writing this book is capturing the ethos of her time of growing up, grappling with a growing sense of realization about the meaning of her associations with her home, neighbors, street, trees, friends, schools, parents and others that constituted her eco-system and was made vivid with her experiences. The book is phenomenal in engaging its readers. It rooting their existence in that time and place of Alabama, and then helping them gain strength, energy and sustenance for their later life experiences. In this book, I could visualize my adventurous summer holidays in Islamabad, my  playing around trees, and playing the roles of strange and mythical characters.  I could see my friends exploring the mysteries that seem to be around our neighborhood. I could feel the warmth and strength of my association with my father and mother. I could sense myself immersed in strange experiences in school expeditions. I could associate with my growing awareness with some mysterious personalities in my childhood. The book had a tremendous personal appeal as a story of a child growing up and slowly realizing the growth of awareness about the erstwhile mysteries.

    I think I have detailed notes of this somewhere that I made 30 years ago. Need to pull them out. 
    The book and this movie made my growing up poignant, focused, and helped me grapple with my growing awareness about the hard realities. To me all my readings are autobiographical. I find myself associating with the characters that I read. I imagine myself in all sorts of roles and situations. I visualize what my responses and feelings would be in similar settings. This has enriched my insights and expanded my experience because it also includes all that I read and see. In fact, I picture myself as a loving considerate father as depicted here. 
    Thank you, Harper Lee and thank you Gregory Peck for this experience. 

    See Also: 


                        5 responses to “To Kill a Mockingbird: A Personal Journey”

                        1. In this pace of the personal journey you can see the lesson for your life , inpiration or leadership for the better work. The statement of purpose mechanical engineering has the forum for the parental counseling.

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                        3. That's an interesting Book. I have mixed feelings about it. It was the first book I ever wore out as a kid, I loved it so much. I strongly identified with NICU fellowship, though as my later life would have it..

                          First, I'll say some good things about the book. It's written extremely well, in a story style that has since fallen out of fashion, but which I like. It's easy to read and directly accessible.

                        4. I just like this blog so much and this is really a best and creative blog. We should read and share such tricks of work connected blog. So that i decided to share this blog.

                        5. Excellent capture of the past Irfan. Engaging.

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