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Harper Lee - To kill a mocking-birdLes premières phrases

«  When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right-angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn’t have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt.

When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out. « 

Circonstances de lecture

Un classique que je n’avais pas encore lu.


Publié en 1960, ce livre de Harper Lee (« Ne tirez pas sur l’oiseau moqueur » en vf) est une ode à la tolérance. On y suit la petite Scout qui nous raconte quelques années de son enfance alors que son père est commis d’office pour défendre un Noir accusé, à tort, d’avoir violé une femme blanche. Le père, intègre et résolument anti-raciste, constitue un véritable modèle pour ses enfants, Scout et Jem. Découvrir cette histoire à travers le point de vue et le regard des deux enfants donne une belle dimension à ce roman.

A lire, alors que l’intolérance et la bêtise humaine sont malheureusement toujours d’actualité…

Un passage parmi d’autres

 « What are you going to do, then? »

« Before I’m through, I intend to jar the jury a bit – I think we’ll have a reasonable chance on appeal, though. I really can’t tell at this stage, Jack. You know, I’d hoped to get through life without a case of this kind, but John Taylor pointed at me and said, « You’re It. »

« Let this cup pass from you, eh? »

« Right. But do you think I could face my children otherwise? You know what’s going to happen as well as I do, Jack, and I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb’s usual disease. Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand… I just hope that Jem and Scout come to me for their answers instead of listening to the town. I hope they trust me enough… Jean Louise?

My scalp jumped. I stucked my head around the corner.

« Sir? »

« Go to bed. »

I scurried to my room and went to bed. Uncle Jack was a prince of a fellow not to let me down. But I never figured out how Atticus knew I was listening, and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said.

Harper Lee – To kill a mocking-bird –  1960 (Arrow Books)