两个月前，我开始在网易蜗牛读书阅读《杀死一只知更鸟 To Kill a Mockingbird》的中文译本。
她的家庭、生活以及这个案件，其实就是To Kill a Mockingbird的原型。
Harper Lee一生只写过两本书，To Kill a Mockingbird，以及Go Set a Watchman（被称为To Kill a Mockingbird续作）。第一本书出版于1960年（那年她34岁），第二本书出版于2015年（那年她89岁）。
有趣的是，To Kill a Mockingbird 并非第一本书的原名。1957年，31岁的Harper Lee给出版商们看手稿时，书名为 Go Set a Watchman（也就是她第二本书的名字）。当时的编辑 （Tay Hohoff）觉得这本书很棒，但是还不足以达到出版要求，于是在她的建议下，Harper Lee继续完善了这本书，最终定名To Kill a Mockingbird.
我觉得 Harper Lee 对 Go Set a Watchman 这个title颇有执念，第一本没法用这个书名，第二本还是用了。
这本小说是以一个大约10岁的女孩子（Scout Finch）的视角来叙述的，Scout有一个亲哥哥（Jem Finch），她的父亲（Atticus Finch）是一名律师，她的母亲在她两岁的时候去世了，家里雇佣了一位黑人（Calpurnia）来照顾孩子。
这是对Boo Radley（Arthur Radley）的惩罚。
有一天，他们拒绝了Maycomb一个小公务员Mr. Conner 的逮捕（这个人不是警官），并且把他锁在了法院大楼的外围建筑里。
Mr. Conner很愤怒，把三个孩子告上了法庭，法官决定把他们送到state industrial school去上学，这个学校这并不是专门为不良青少年设置的学校，普通孩子也会去那里上学。
但是Arthur Radley的父亲，Nathan Radley并不这么认为，他觉得Boo如果去了那所学校就是给Radley家族蒙羞。于是他让法官放掉Arthur，他可以保证这个孩子不再惹是生非。
只因为他的父亲对家族荣誉感的执念、对state industrial school的误会，以及最重要的，对孩子天性的误解。
According to neighborhood legend, when the younger Radley boy was in his teens he became acquainted with some of the Cunninghams from Old Sarum, an enormous and confusing tribe domiciled in the northern part of the county, and they formed the nearest thing to a gang ever seen in Maycomb. They did little, but enough to be discussed by the town and publicly warned from three pulpits: they hung around the barbershop; they rode the bus to Abbottsville on Sundays and went to the picture show; they attended dances at the county’s riverside gambling hell, the Dew-Drop Inn & Fishing Camp; they experimented with stumphole whiskey. Nobody in Maycomb had nerve enough to tell Mr. Radley that his boy was in with the wrong crowd.
One night, in an excessive spurt of high spirits, the boys backed around the square in a borrowed flivver, resisted arrest by Maycomb’s ancient beadle, Mr. Conner, and locked him in the courthouse outhouse. The town decided something had to be done; Mr. Conner said he knew who each and every one of them was, and he was bound and determined they wouldn’t get away with it, so the boys came before the probate judge on charges of disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, assault and battery, and using abusive and profane language in the presence and hearing of a female. The judge asked Mr. Conner why he included the last charge; Mr. Conner said they cussed so loud he was sure every lady in Maycomb heard them. The judge decided to send the boys to the state industrial school, where boys were sometimes sent for no other reason than to provide them with food and decent shelter: it was no prison and it was no disgrace. Mr. Radley thought it was. If the judge released Arthur, Mr. Radley would see to it that Arthur gave no further trouble. Knowing that Mr. Radley’s word was his bond, the judge was glad to do so.
The other boys attended the industrial school and received the best secondary education to be had in the state; one of them eventually worked his way through engineering school at Auburn. The doors of the Radley house were closed on weekdays as well as Sundays, and Mr. Radley’s boy was not seen again for fifteen years.
……she said, “that is a sad house. I remember Arthur Radley when he was a boy. He always spoke nicely to me, no matter what folks said he did. Spoke as nicely as he knew how.”
“You reckon he’s crazy?”
Miss Maudie shook her head. “If he’s not he should be by now. The things that happen to people we never really know. What happens in houses behind closed doors, what secrets—”
The following week the knot-hole yielded a tarnished medal. Jem showed it to Atticus, who said it was a spelling medal, that before we were born the Maycomb County schools had spelling contests and awarded medals to the winners.
Nathan的所作所为，连一贯不对白人做评论的Calpurnia都看不下去，说他是“the meanest man ever”。
My memory came alive to see Mrs. Radley occasionally open the front door, walk to the edge of the porch, and pour water on her cannas. But every day Jem and I would see Mr. Radley walking to and from town. He was a thin leathery man with colorless eyes, so colorless they did not reflect light. His cheekbones were sharp and his mouth was wide, with a thin upper lip and a full lower lip. Miss Stephanie Crawford said he was so upright he took the word of God as his only law, and we believed her, because Mr. Radley’s posture was ramrod straight.
He never spoke to us. When he passed we would look at the ground and say, “Good morning, sir,” and he would cough in reply. Mr. Radley’s elder son lived in Pensacola; he came home at Christmas, and he was one of the few persons we ever saw enter or leave the place. From the day Mr. Radley took Arthur home, people said the house died.
“There goes the meanest man ever God blew breath into,” murmured Calpurnia, and she spat meditatively into the yard. We looked at her in surprise, for Calpurnia rarely commented on the ways of white people.
Then I saw the shadow. It was the shadow of a man with a hat on. At first I thought it was a tree, but there was no wind blowing, and tree-trunks never walked. The back porch was bathed in moonlight, and the shadow, crisp as toast, moved across the porch toward Jem.
Dill saw it next. He put his hands to his face.
When it crossed Jem, Jem saw it. He put his arms over his head and went rigid.
The shadow stopped about a foot beyond Jem. Its arm came out from its side, dropped, and was still. Then it turned and moved back across Jem, walked along the porch and off the side of the house, returning as it had come.
Jem leaped off the porch and galloped toward us. He flung open the gate, danced Dill and me through, and shooed us between two rows of swishing collards. Halfway through the collards I tripped; as I tripped the roar of a shotgun shattered the neighborhood.
Dill and Jem dived beside me. Jem’s breath came in sobs: “Fence by the schoolyard!—hurry, Scout!”
“What happened?” asked Jem.
“Mr. Radley shot at a Negro in his collard patch.”
“Oh. Did he hit him?”
“No,” said Miss Stephanie. “Shot in the air. Scared him pale, though. Says if anybody sees a white nigger around, that’s the one. Says he’s got the other barrel waitin‘ for the next sound he hears in that patch, an’ next time he won’t aim high, be it dog, nigger, or—Jem Finch!” “Ma’am?” asked Jem.
Atticus spoke. “Where’re your pants, son?”
It was no use. In his shorts before God and everybody. I sighed.
I tried to reason with him. “Mr. Nathan’s gonna find ‘em in the morning, Jem. He knows you lost ’em. When he shows ‘em to Atticus it’ll be pretty bad, that’s all there is to it. Go’n back to bed.”
“That’s what I know,” said Jem. “That’s why I’m goin‘ after ’em.”
I began to feel sick. Going back to that place by himself—I remembered Miss Stephanie: Mr. Nathan had the other barrel waiting for the next sound he heard, be it nigger, dog… Jem knew that better than I.
I was desperate: “Look, it ain’t worth it, Jem. A lickin‘ hurts but it doesn’t last. You’ll get your head shot off, Jem. Please…”
He blew out his breath patiently. “I—it’s like this, Scout,” he muttered. “Atticus ain’t ever whipped me since I can remember. I wanta keep it that way.”
This was a thought. It seemed that Atticus threatened us every other day. “You mean he’s never caught you at anything.”
“Maybe so, but—I just wanta keep it that way, Scout. We shouldn’a done that tonight, Scout.”
……he said, “When I went back for my breeches—they were all in a tangle when I was gettin‘ out of ’em, I couldn’t get ‘em loose. When I went back—” Jem took a deep breath. “When I went back, they were folded across the fence… like they were expectin’ me.”
“And something else—” Jem’s voice was flat. “Show you when we get home. They’d been sewed up. Not like a lady sewed ‘em, like somethin’ I’d try to do. All crooked. It’s almost like—”
“—somebody knew you were comin‘ back for ’em.”
Jem shuddered. “Like somebody was readin‘ my mind… like somebody could tell what I was gonna do. Can’t anybody tell what I’m gonna do lest they know me, can they, Scout?”
Jem’s question was an appeal. I reassured him: “Can’t anybody tell what you’re gonna do lest they live in the house with you, and even I can’t tell sometimes.”
I pulled out two small images carved in soap. One was the figure of a boy, the other wore a crude dress. Before I remembered that there was no such thing as hoo-dooing, I shrieked and threw them down.
Jem snatched them up. “What’s the matter with you?” he yelled. He rubbed the figures free of red dust. “These are good,” he said. “I’ve never seen any these good.”
He held them down to me. They were almost perfect miniatures of two children. The boy had on shorts, and a shock of soapy hair fell to his eyebrows. I looked up at Jem. A point of straight brown hair kicked downwards from his part. I had never noticed it before. Jem looked from the girl-doll to me. The girl-doll wore bangs. So did I.
“These are us,” he said.
“Mr. Radley, ah—did you put cement in that hole in that tree down yonder?”
“Yes,” he said. “I filled it up.”
“Why’d you do it, sir?”
“Tree’s dying. You plug ‘em with cement when they’re sick. You ought to know that, Jem.”
Jem said nothing more about it until late afternoon. When we passed our tree he gave it a meditative pat on its cement, and remained deep in thought. He seemed to be working himself into a bad humor, so I kept my distance.
As usual, we met Atticus coming home from work that evening. When we were at our steps Jem said, “Atticus, look down yonder at that tree, please sir.”
“What tree, son?” “The one on the corner of the Radley lot comin‘ from school.”
“Is that tree dyin‘?”
“Why no, son, I don’t think so. Look at the leaves, they’re all green and full, no brown patches anywhere—”
“It ain’t even sick?”
“That tree’s as healthy as you are, Jem. Why?”
“Mr. Nathan Radley said it was dyin‘.”
“Well maybe it is. I’m sure Mr. Radley knows more about his trees than we do.”
Atticus left us on the porch. Jem leaned on a pillar, rubbing his shoulders against it.
“Do you itch, Jem?” I asked as politely as I could. He did not answer. “Come on in, Jem,” I said.
He stood there until nightfall, and I waited for him. When we went in the house I saw he had been crying; his face was dirty in the right places, but I thought it odd that I had not heard him.
I knew when there was trouble in our street. Soft taffeta-like sounds and muffled scurrying sounds filled me with helpless dread.
“Whose is it?”
“Miss Maudie’s, hon,” said Atticus gently.
At the front door, we saw fire spewing from Miss Maudie’s diningroom windows. As if to confirm what we saw, the town fire siren wailed up the scale to a treble pitch and remained there, screaming.
“It’s gone, ain’t it?” moaned Jem.
“I expect so,” said Atticus. “Now listen, both of you. Go down and stand in front of the Radley Place. Keep out of the way, do you hear?
“Then whose blanket is that?”
“Yes ma’am, blanket. It isn’t ours.”
I looked down and found myself clutching a brown woolen blanket I was wearing around my shoulders, squaw-fashion.
“Atticus, I don’t know, sir… I—”
I turned to Jem for an answer, but Jem was even more bewildered than I. He said he didn’t know how it got there, we did exactly as Atticus had told us, we stood down by the Radley gate away from everybody, we didn’t move an inch—Jem stopped.
“Mr. Nathan was at the fire,” he babbled, “I saw him, I saw him, he was tuggin‘ that mattress—Atticus, I swear…”
“That’s all right, son.” Atticus grinned slowly. “Looks like all of Maycomb was out tonight, in one way or another. Jem, there’s some wrapping paper in the pantry, I think. Go get it and we’ll—”
“Atticus, no sir!”
Jem seemed to have lost his mind. He began pouring out our secrets right and left in total disregard for my safety if not for his own, omitting nothing, knothole, pants and all.
“…Mr. Nathan put cement in that tree, Atticus, an‘ he did it to stop us findin’ things—he’s crazy, I reckon, like they say, but Atticus, I swear to God he ain’t ever harmed us, he ain’t ever hurt us, he coulda cut my throat from ear to ear that night but he tried to mend my pants instead… he ain’t ever hurt us, Atticus—”
Atticus said, “Whoa, son,” so gently that I was greatly heartened. It was obvious that he had not followed a word Jem said, for all Atticus said was, “You’re right. We’d better keep this and the blanket to ourselves. Someday, maybe, Scout can thank him for covering her up.”
Miss Maudie’s sunhat was suspended in a thin layer of ice, like a fly in amber, and we had to dig under the dirt for her hedge-clippers. We found her in her back yard, gazing at her frozen charred azaleas. “We’re bringing back your things, Miss Maudie,” said Jem. “We’re awful sorry.”
Miss Maudie looked around, and the shadow of her old grin crossed her face. “Always wanted a smaller house, Jem Finch. Gives me more yard. Just think, I’ll have more room for my azaleas now!”
“You ain’t grievin‘, Miss Maudie?” I asked, surprised. Atticus said her house was nearly all she had.
“Grieving, child? Why, I hated that old cow barn. Thought of settin‘ fire to it a hundred times myself, except they’d lock me up.”
“Don’t you worry about me, Jean Louise Finch. There are ways of doing things you don’t know about. Why, I’ll build me a little house and take me a couple of roomers and—gracious, I’ll have the finest yard in Alabama. Those Bellingraths’ll look plain puny when I get started!”
“Do you defend niggers, Atticus?” I asked him that evening.
“Of course I do. Don’t say nigger, Scout. That’s common.”
“‘s what everybody at school says.”
“From now on it’ll be everybody less one—”
But I was worrying another bone. “Do all lawyers defend n-Negroes, Atticus?”
“Of course they do, Scout.”
“Then why did Cecil say you defended niggers? He made it sound like you were runnin‘ a still.”
Atticus sighed. “I’m simply defending a Negro—his name’s Tom Robinson. He lives in that little settlement beyond the town dump. He’s a member of Calpurnia’s church, and Cal knows his family well. She says they’re clean-living folks. Scout, you aren’t old enough to understand some things yet, but there’s been some high talk around town to the effect that I shouldn’t do much about defending this man. It’s a peculiar case—it won’t come to trial until summer session. John Taylor was kind enough to give us a postponement…”
“If you shouldn’t be defendin‘ him, then why are you doin’ it?”
“For a number of reasons,” said Atticus. “The main one is, if I didn’t I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again.”
“Atticus, you must be wrong…”
“Well, most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong…”
“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
在那场黑白颠倒的审判结束之后，明明胜诉的一方（Bob 和 Mayella）并没有享受胜利的快感，因为他们知道，经过Atticus的精彩庭审辩护之后，镇子上所有人对案子的真相都心知肚明。Tom无罪，Mayella主动投怀送抱，Bob殴打自己的女儿之后反咬一口。
At that moment Aunt Alexandra came to the door and called us, but she was too late. It was Miss Stephanie’s pleasure to tell us: this morning Mr. Bob Ewell stopped Atticus on the post office corner, spat in his face, and told him he’d get him if it took the rest of his life.
“I wish Bob Ewell wouldn’t chew tobacco,” was all Atticus said about it.
According to Miss Stephanie Crawford, however, Atticus was leaving the post office when Mr. Ewell approached him, cursed him, spat on him, and threatened to kill him. Miss Stephanie (who, by the time she had told it twice was there and had seen it all—passing by from the Jitney Jungle, she was)Miss Stephanie said Atticus didn’t bat an eye, just took out his handkerchief and wiped his face and stood there and let Mr. Ewell call him names wild horses could not bring her to repeat. Mr. Ewell was a veteran of an obscure war; that plus Atticus’s peaceful reaction probably prompted him to inquire, “Too proud to fight, you nigger-lovin‘ bastard?” Miss Stephanie said Atticus said, “No, too old,” put his hands in his pockets and strolled on. Miss Stephanie said you had to hand it to Atticus Finch, he could be right dry sometimes.
Jem and I didn’t think it entertaining.
“After all, though,” I said, “he was the deadest shot in the county one time. He could—”
“You know he wouldn’t carry a gun, Scout. He ain’t even got one—” said Jem. “You know he didn’t even have one down at the jail that night. He told me havin‘ a gun around’s an invitation to somebody to shoot you.”
“If you had been on that jury, son, and eleven other boys like you, Tom would be a free man,” said Atticus. “So far nothing in your life has interfered with your reasoning process. Those are twelve reasonable men in everyday life, Tom’s jury, but you saw something come between them and reason. You saw the same thing that night in front of the jail. When that crew went away, they didn’t go as reasonable men, they went because we were there. There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads—they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.”
“Doesn’t make it right,” said Jem stolidly. He beat his fist softly on his knee. “You just can’t convict a man on evidence like that—you can’t.”
“You couldn’t, but they could and did. The older you grow the more of it you’ll see. The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.”
Atticus was speaking so quietly his last word crashed on our ears. I looked up, and his face was vehement. “There’s nothing more sickening to me than a low-grade white man who’ll take advantage of a Negro’s ignorance. Don’t fool yourselves—it’s all adding up and one of these days we’re going to pay the bill for it. I hope it’s not in you children’s time.”
I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks. —— Scout Finch
我看完这本书后问了一些身边的朋友是否有看过，好几个都回答我：”Of course, this is classic.”