The Presidential Medal of Freedom is given to those who have shown exceptional contributions towards the national interest and security of the United States. It could be any way of contribution; peace, cultural significance, or other endeavors. To receive such an honor, the work and person both must be of such high praise and worthy. Such is Harper Lee. She is the proud receiver of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Who is Harper Lee?
Harper Lee is an American Novelist. Before becoming one, she had set out to pursue a law degree. During her childhood, she faced many financial problems. It was because of that, that it took her some more time than normal to complete her degree. She is one among many women to have seen the brutality of racism since her childhood.
Her novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a similar depiction of her life. Although she has not named any real persons in her novel, it can still be called her biography to some extent. Harper has only published two novels in her life. And yet she is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award. And the Pulitzer Prize. This may seem like a small contribution, but to the literature world, it is an unparalleled contribution.
Like most exceptional writers, Harper Lee has a unique style of writing. Which is clearly visible in both her novels. Some have even given her the title of “crankiest writer on the planet”! Although Lee may beg to differ.
She is one such writer who is not what she writes. She may have used very sublet, cracky and straightforward language. But in reality, she is nothing like that. She staunchly believes that her book is for universal reference.
According to Lee, her novels just depict society and civilization. She had not meant for it to be a racial one. For someone who lives quietly and enjoys her privacy, she wrote quite a mouthful of the world reality.
Harper Lee says that her novel should not be considered her autobiography. She believes that her novel should be an example of how novels should be written. Truthful and elegant.
Harper Lee received many honorary awards for her literature, but she liked to not talk about the. While she was being presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom for literature, was the only time she spoke up about the novel. Some say that that was the only time that anyone could see a real smile on her face.
About “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Published in 1960, “To Kill a Mockingbird” became an instant success. First, it touched the hearts of middle schoolers and high school students. And then slowly got accepted by adults and families.
The plot revolves around Lee’s observations of her life, family, neighbors, and hometown. The novel has incidents of grave issues such as racial discrimination and rape. Yet the novel has its own charm of normalcy and warmth.
A lot of readers felt satisfied as readers of books with this novel as it has an equal balance of both negatives and positives of life. Some instances are based on general observations. While some are based on Lee’s experiences.
The story is about a protagonist who is a small child during the Great Depression in a fictional town. It revolves around the life of the protagonist, her family, and events that occur around her. During the course of the books, we see the family getting themselves intertwined with a case that leads them to face mob pressure.
Justice, sins, wrongly accused, inspirations, getting back up. These words when woven together constitute the events of the novel. This novel is like the ideal life that a person, who never gives up and fights for their rights, has.
At the beginning of the novel, it moves at a normal town based fictional event. Slowly it picks up the pace and starts telling us the real events and problems of the protagonist. By the end of the book, all problems are solved and the protagonist has enlightenment and a new perspective towards life.
The specifics are not told as of now in the interest of not ruining or spoiling the book for anyone who has not read it yet.
View of Readers
A lot of readers were disappointed about there not being a sequel for the Novel. Even though it has the ending it deserves, readers wanted more realistic novels. You could say that this became the era to talk about elephant in the room.
And the good part is that people were ready to listen to the truth and accept the fact that society had to change at least a minimum for the betterment of everybody. No matter the race, gender, any other discriminatory factor.
This book has been dear to all those from the 60s. It is still dear to the new generation as well. Be sure to read Harper Lee’s novel if you have not. It is worth every minute you spend reading it. You yourself will understand why the Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to American Novelist Harper Lee despite her writing only one novel.
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