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Meeting Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird

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Meeting Oscar-nominated Mary Badham, who addressed a large crowd at the Carroll University  in Wisconsin US, on 21 October 2016, will remain a memorable event. She is a patron of the books, To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman, and an evangelist of human rights.

Let’s forget the fact that she played Scout, the charming, boisterous girl whose claim to fame was the film based on the book, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Let’s forget the fact that her mischievous eyes still exude the same confidence and innocence. Let’s forget the fact that she wasn’t here to talk about how the movie was an entry to stardom (Btw, she retired from movies at the ‘fruitful age of 14’ in her words)

Mary Badham has been the lifelong supporter of To Kill a Mockingbird. Those who have read: To Kill a Mockingbird, will relate to Mary Badham when she says that the book changed her life to an extent that she spent the last 40 years working with children, young adults, travelling across the country speaking of the importance of the book. Racism, bigotry, gender discrimination still exist, as much or less, as they did in the 1930s in US. But the book also teaches several important values like being a wonderful communicative parent, like Atticus, on the importance of friendship, imagination. The book will never lose its importance. Mary Badham grew up in Birmingham, Alabama in the heat of the Civil Rights Movement. She was selected from over 4000 girls and you will know why when she tell you that she and her friend created imaginary situations and lived them. She was confused and curious like Scout: Why should the color of the skin determine a relation and law? Mary tried to help her friend, a colored boy, but the social restrictions made it impossible for her but she did help her friend John in all possible ways. As she speaks about her life which she has lived out of her suitcase, taking the book to Russia, England, where people have a hard time understanding the book but her experiences and narration iron out their doubts; you can still see her affability in her winsome eyes. An introduction and a testimony to a book cannot be better than this: A character played in a movie, based on a book, spending a large part of her life, carrying on the torchlight of its essence.  

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Mary lives on a farm in Alabama, with her family. One biological daughter and an adopted son from Calcutta, India. The event was conducted by Waukesha Public Library at the wonderful Carroll University. To Kill a Mockingbird is the book of the year. The events are scheduled till November-mid to commemorate the importance of the book and the lesser known facts.

 

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