Should it be analysed, taught in schools and pulled to pieces? I can't say, but what I will say is I'm not against anyone reading for the sake of reading. I've read many a book which I've enjoyed, put down and never thought about since. But I honestly feel that Mockingbird is a book which should be read, be it in school or in adult life (or both), without complete and utter absorption. It's a book with so many layers of meaning that you can get so much out of it. I for one know that To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that really has changed my life and that every time I go back over it, I find something new that I assimilate into my own code of ethics. Going over it, whilst being an arduous task, was in the long run worth all the time it took, and plenty more besides.
David Baker: Well, it’s certainly it’s about prejudice, it’s about pride, it’s about prejudgment. But you know the thing that struck me most about it is the universality of traits that are found in all human beings are in this book. Particularly, the fact that it’s a book told through the eyes of a little girl as she becomes a woman. And I find that very beautiful…‘cause it’s almost biblical in the sense a child, a little child shall lead them. And I guess I’m also struck by the way that Harper Lee characterized the various players in the book. For instance, the fact that there is that duality that all human beings have that nobody’s essentially all bad or all good. And I thought that, more than anything else, she was able to capture that. And I thought about an ad that I happened to be seeing on TV the other night when I was, you know, going through the book again, and it’s the ad that Kobe Bryant does. And he talks about, “People hate me because I swagger, they hate me because I score too many points, they hate me because I’m a pro.” And then when he finishes all of that, he says very quietly, “It’s the same reason that some people love me.” And I thought about that when I thought about, you know, some of the characters here who are very, very bad, are very evil seemingly in intent. And yet then there’ll be somebody who happens that says there’s something redeemable about them.
Lee modeled the character of Dill on her childhood friend, Truman Capote , known then as Truman Persons.   Just as Dill lived next door to Scout during the summer, Capote lived next door to Lee with his aunts while his mother visited New York City.  Like Dill, Capote had an impressive imagination and a gift for fascinating stories. Both Lee and Capote were atypical children: both loved to read. Lee was a scrappy tomboy who was quick to fight, but Capote was ridiculed for his advanced vocabulary and lisp. She and Capote made up and acted out stories they wrote on an old Underwood typewriter Lee's father gave them. They became good friends when both felt alienated from their peers; Capote called the two of them "apart people".  In 1960, Capote and Lee traveled to Kansas together to investigate the multiple murders that were the basis for Capote's nonfiction novel In Cold Blood .