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An Introduction to Nelle Harper Lee


Title: PowerPoint Presentation Author: Terry Last modified by: Ezeh, Linda Created Date: 3/20/2012 2:57:05 AM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: An Introduction to Nelle Harper Lee

An Introduction to Nelle Harper Lees To Kill A
Ms. Ezeh- English II
  • Racial Prejudice
  • Social Snobbery
  • Morality
  • Tolerance
  • Patience
  • Equality
  • The Need for Compassion
  • The Need for Conscience

  • The Mockingbird Symbolizes Everything That is
    Good and Harmless in This World
  • The mockingbird only sings to please others and
    therefore it is considered a sin to shoot a
    mockingbird. They are considered harmless
    creatures who give joy with their song.
  • The mockingbird image or symbol appears four
    times in the novel.
  • Two characters in the novel symbolize the
    mockingbird Tom Robinson Boo Radley.

Nelle Harper Lee
  • Born April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama.
  • Her first and only novel To Kill a Mockingbird
    was published in 1960.
  • In 1960 she won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
  • Lee continued to receive awards after the books
  • In November of 2007 she was awarded the
    Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nations
    highest civilian award) for her contribution to
    American literature.

  • Harper Lee versus Scout
  • - Born in Monroeville, Alabama - Born in
    Maycomb, Alabama
  • - Grew up in 1930s -
    Grew up in 1930s
  • - Father was a lawyer -
    Father (Atticus) is a lawyer
  • - Mothers maiden name was Finch - Last name
  • There are two distinct plot forms in the novel.
  • could be described as a Bildungsroman, which
    means it
  • is a story about growing up. The second is a
  • of a particular period in American history.

The Setting
  • The setting
  • Maycomb, Georgia
  • The novel is set in 1933-1935, which is during
    the Great Depression

Time 1930s, Great Depression era People
bought on margin, and an imbalance in supply
and demand caused a major depression. Economic
difficulties of this time caused problems for all
classes of people. Many families do not even have
money for basic needs such as food, clothing, and
shelter. The per capita income for families in
Alabama (and Oklahoma) was 125 - 250 a year.
Many people travelled to find seasonal work but
unemployment was at a peak. Many southern blacks
picked cotton for a living.
Race in Alabama
  • The agricultural economy was hit hard by the
    depression. Many white southerners had a
    romanticized idea of how life should be. They
    felt threatened by change and industrialization.
    Tensions between whites and blacks were still
  • Although slavery was abolished in the 1865,
    racism and discrimination were alive and well
    during the time of the novel.
  • However, in the South, there was still very
    little opportunity for African Americans to
    advance themselves. Nearly half did not receive
    an education past the 5th grade, and many picked
    cotton to survive throughout the Great
    Depression. Lynching also remained a common
    practice in Alabama and southern states.

Race in Alabama, 1920-1940
  • No white female nurses in hospitals that treat
    black men
  • Separate passenger cars for whites and blacks
  • Separate waiting rooms for whites and blacks
  • Separation of white and black convicts
  • Separate schools
  • No interracial marriages
  • Segregated water fountains
  • Segregated theatres
  • Although free blacks in the north received the
    vote back in 1870, those in the southern states
    do not until 1964 with the introduction of the
    Civil Rights Act.

Another Cultural Difference
  • Gender Bias
  • Women were the weaker sex.
  • Education not important for women.
  • Women only received the right to vote in 1919.
  • Men were not expected to be nurturing.

Keep the following in mind
  • Pay close attention to the language of the
    characters. For example, Atticus uses formal
    speech, the Ewells use curse words and
    obscenities, and the cook switches between
    white and black dialects depending on who she
    is talking to.
  • Also, the book contains derogatory terms for
    African Americans, such as nigger, darky,
    Negroes, and colored folk Lee uses such
    language to keep her novel naturally in sync with
    common language of the times.

Characters Jean Louise Finch Scout
  • The storys narrator
  • Although now an adult, Scout looks back at her
    childhood and tells of the momentous events and
    influential people of those years.
  • Scout is six when the story begins.
  • She is naturally curious about life.

to kill a mockingbird by harper lee
Characters Atticus Finch
  • Father of Scout and Jem
  • A widower
  • An attorney by profession
  • Highly respected
  • Good citizen
  • Instills good values and morals in his children.

to kill a mockingbird by harper lee
Characters Jem Finch
  • Scouts older brother
  • Looks up to his father Atticus
  • Usually looks out for Scout
  • Typical older brother at times
  • Smart
  • Compassionate
  • Matures as the story progresses

to kill a mockingbird by harper lee
Characters Calpurnia
  • The Finchs black housekeeper
  • Has watched the children since their mothers
  • Acts as a positive influence on the children.

to kill a mockingbird by harper lee
Characters Dill
  • A close friend of Jem and Scout
  • Usually lives in Maycomb only during the summer
    (stays with a relative)
  • Tells big stories
  • Has been deprived of love and affection

to kill a mockingbird by harper lee
Characters Tom Robinson
  • A young, hardworking black male
  • Has a crippled left hand
  • Married with three children. Works on a farm
    belonging to Mr. Link Deas, a white man

to kill a mockingbird by harper lee
Characters Arthur Boo Radley
  • An enigma
  • An adult man, whose father has sentenced him
    to a lifetime confinement to their house because
    of some mischief he got into when he was a
  • Has a reputation of being a lunatic

to kill a mockingbird by harper lee
Two Poor White Families The Cunninghams
The Ewells
  • Poor white family
  • Hard-working
  • Honest
  • Proud
  • Survive on very little
  • Always pay back their debts even if it is with
    hickory nuts, turnips, or holly.
  • Poor white trash
  • Dirty
  • Lazy
  • Good-for-nothing
  • Never done a days work
  • Foul-mouthed
  • Dishonest
  • Immoral

The Black Community
  • Simple
  • Honest
  • Clean
  • Hard-working
  • God fearing
  • Proud
  • Would never take anything with paying it back
  • Respectful
  • Had stronger character than most of the whites
  • Oppressed
  • Uneducated
  • Discriminated against
  • Talked about badly
  • Deserve better than what is dished out to them by

Vocabulary for Chapter 1 and 2
  • Repertoire -
  • Vapid -
  • Malevolent -
  • Morbid -
  • Predilection -
  • Sojourn -
  • Domiciled -
  • Complete these in groups (define and share)
  • Assuaged -
  • Apothecary -
  • Strictures -
  • Dictum -
  • Chattel -
  • Vexations -
  • Taciturn -