Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published in 1960 to wide acclaim. The movie, released in 1962, starring Gregory Peck who portrayed the lawyer Atticus Finch—the novel’s moral compass—was also a hit. Finch, his daughter, Scout and his son, Jem are among the most memorable fictional creations of the last century.
Central to the book is the development of a more mature and inclusive perspective on life amid the insular attitudes of adults toward race and class in Alabama in the Depression-era 30s. Indeed, the lawyer’s, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it,” lays bare, especially for his young daughter, the moral obligation that ideally underpins autonomous adult responsibility.