American Splendor

When someone broaches the endless search for the Great American Novel, we laugh in exasperation. Why are we still chasing that Grail when it’s right there on the shelf, right before our eyes? It’s hard to dispute the qualifications of, say, Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, The Catcher in the Rye, or Slaughterhouse-Five, but if we’re talking about the one, true Great American Novel, it has to be To Kill a Mockingbird. Just has to.

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-winning work was a childhood memoir, more or less, but the author was in the right place/right time – both as a saucer-eyed child surveying a “classless” society and, in maturity, as a progressive thinker perched on the precipice of civil rights – to capture America’s deep goodness and flaws. The reason Mockingbird must be considered best is its unflinching repudiation of racial inequality – the issue closest to the American psyche – at a time (1960) when such things were, to use the vernacular of the book’s small-town-Alabama setting, just not done.

Thu., March 27, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., March 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., March 29, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 30, 1 & 7 p.m.; Wed., April 2, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., April 3, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Fri., April 4, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 5, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., April 6, 1 & 7 p.m.; Wed., April 9, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., April 10, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., April 11, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 12, 4 & 8 p.m.; Sun., April 13, 1 p.m., 2008


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