Legendary Pulitzer Prize winner for her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Nelle Harper Lee, dies at the age of 89 in her quiet hometown of Monroeville, Alabama Saturday morning.
The beloved writer lived a quaint life within the realms of her small southern town. Lee developed an interest in writing and journalism when she was in high school and dedicated much of her time to her studies throughout her collegiate years.
The writer soon moved to New York City, which is where she began her masterpiece of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, a story that would soon change the lives of people worldwide in the midst of global racial conflict and aggression.
LSU senior Emily Guidroz and passionate fan of Lee’s work said, “I think what sets her apart from most is her shy attitude of the spotlight, she wasn’t in it for the fame or success. She said what she had to say and moved on.”
In one of the few interviews Lee had in her lifetime, she told the Associated Press, “Success has had a very bad effect on me.”
Despite her unwanted success, her book went to win the Best Novel of the Century in 1999 and has been taught in schools and universities throughout the world.
Guidroz said, “Her work has such an importance because of the valuable lessons she talks about. She discusses issues kids need to know about.”
The massive success ‘Mockingbird’ received caused readers to become impatient for something else. She never delivered any signals of another novel until Lee shocked the world once again for “Go Set a Watchman”, a story of the continuous lives of Atticus Finch and Scout among other ‘Mockingbird’ characters.
The appeals of these books begin with the direct aim toward a controversial subject from the perspective of a white southern woman among a commonly segregated region where women didn’t have much of a public voice.
LSU English Professor Matt Dischinger says, “It’s the balance between wide appeal and political edge that is, to me, both important and rare.”
However, Lee is much more than the success of her novelty writing skills. She was a mentor, a friend, a sister and an underlying foundation of how English and writing is taught to this day. Her ability to recognize a civil injustice speaks volumes of her character and feelings toward the civil adversity that was faced by many during the time of ‘Mockingbird’s’ release.
Guidroz said, “Her bravery to write about the flaws of society, yet romanticize it, without the fear of backlash is inspiring.”