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To Kill a Mockingbird


To Kill a Mockingbird Introductory Notes The Novel Written in 1957 (published in 1960) Spent 80 weeks on best seller list Won Pulitzer Prize in 1961 Became Oscar ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Introductory Notes

The Novel
  • Written in 1957 (published in 1960)
  • Spent 80 weeks on best seller list
  • Won Pulitzer Prize in 1961
  • Became Oscar-winning movie in 1962
  • 30 million copies in print, translated in 40
    different languages

Harper Lee
  • Nelle Harper Lee
  • Born in Alabama, 1926
  • Studied Law at University
  • of Alabama
  • This is Lees first and only novel
  • In 2007, Harper was awarded the Presidential
    Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian honor) for
    her contribution to literature.

Parallels Lee Scout
  • Grew up in small Alabama town
  • Every summer, Truman Capote came to visit
  • Father was a lawyer
  • Was considered a tomboy
  • A recluse
  • Setting is small Alabama town
  • Every summer Dill came to visit
  • Atticus is a lawyer
  • Does not like to be called a girl
  • Lives next to Boo Radley, a recluse

Historical Information
  • Written during the time of the Civil Rights
    Movement (1960s) when groups were attempting to
    integrate blacks and whites.
  • Inequality was at its height
  • The novel is a comment on the inequality and
    injustice that existed between two racial groups.
  • The novel emphasizes that racial views had not
    changed much since the 1930s when Harper was
    growing up in the South (30 years earlier).

Novel Background
  • The story begins in summer 1933 and ends
    Halloween night 1935
  • Country is in the midst of the Great Depression
  • Setting- Maycomb is a very poor county in
    Alabama. (Said to be Monroeville)
  • Professionals dont make much b/c clients cant
    afford to pay them
  • Maycomb is slow to respond to change- newcomers
    and new ideas are not easily accepted

1930s - Great Depression
  • The Great Depression was caused by
    the Stock Market Crash
  • Businesses failed, factories closed
  • 13 million Americans were out of work
  • Even people with money suffered because nothing
    was being produced for sale.
  • Poor people lost their homes, were forced to
    live off the land.
  • 750,000 farmers lost their land.

Life in the 1930s
Legal Issues of the 1930s which impact the story
  • Women given the vote in 1920
  • Juries were MALE and WHITE
  • Fair trial did not include acceptance of a
    black mans word against a white mans

Major Prejudices of the 1930s
  • Racial
  • Gender
  • Social

Racial separation (segregation)
Racial Prejudices
  • Slavery ended in 1864, with the passing of the
    14th amendment, but the Civil Rights movement did
    not begin until the 1950s
  • Many African Americans were forced by
    circumstance (not by law) to take menial jobs
    (housekeeper, cook, janitor, etc.)

Racial Prejudices contd.
  • In the South, in the 1930s, blacks were denied
    equal rights and access to education as a result
    of Jim Crow Laws.
  • Under the Jim Crow Laws, segregation was legal
    and African Americans were regulated to second
    class citizens.
  • If Jim Crow Laws were not abided by, violence,
    such as lynching, would ensue.

Jim Crow Laws
  • A black male can not offer to shake hands with a
    white male (because it implies social equality)
  • Blacks are not to be referred to as Mr., Mrs.,
    Sir, or Maam, but rather by their first names.
  • Blacks must wait for whites at an intersection

Jim Crow Laws contd.
  • Blacks were never to
  • Assert that a white person is lying.
  • Impute dishonorable intentions to a white person.
  • Suggests that a white person is from an inferior
  • Lay claim to, or overly demonstrate, superior
    knowledge or intelligence
  • Curse at a white person
  • Laugh at a white person
  • Comment on the appearance of a white woman

Gender Prejudices
  • Women were considered weak
  • Women were generally not educated for
    occupations outside the home
  • In wealthy families, women were expected to
    oversee the servants and entertain guests
  • Men not considered capable of nurturing children

Social Prejudices
  • White Trash
  • Poor, uneducated white people who lived on
  • lowest social class, even below the poor blacks
  • prejudiced against black people
  • felt the need to put down blacks in order to
    elevate themselves

Historical Parallels
  • The Scottsboro Boys
  • In 1931, The trial of the nine falsely accused
    teens would draw North and South into their
    sharpest conflict since the Civil War, yield two
    momentous Supreme Court decisions and give birth
    to the Civil Rights Movement.

The Scottsboro Boys
  • March 25 In the depths of the Depression, a
    fight breaks out between white and black young
    men who are riding as hoboes on a Southern
    Railroad freight train. The train is stopped by
    an angry posse in Paint Rock, Alabama, and nine
    black youths are arrested for assault. Rape
    charges are added, following accusations from two
    white women who have also come off the train,
    Victoria Price and Ruby Bates. The accused are
    taken to Scottsboro, Alabama, the Jackson County
    seat. The women are examined by Drs. R. R.
    Bridges and Marvin Lynch.

The Scottsboro Boys, contd.
  • 8 of the boys are sentenced to death
  • The other boy was 13 11 jurors voted death, one
    life in prison a hung jury
  • A letter surfaces from one of the victims
    written to her boyfriend in which she denies
    being raped. She later testifies in court that
    both girls were lying
  • Even after her testimony, boys still sentenced to

The Scottsboro Boys, contd.
  • A mob of white men tried to break into the jail
    where the boys were being held

  • Bildungsroman
  • bil-doongz-roh-mahn
  • German. Type of novel concerned with the
    education, development, and maturing of a young
  • A coming of age novel
  • It also includes
  • Parent/Mentor playing a role in that growth
  • Rituals or rites of passage
  • Protagonists faces a crisis which helps to find
    his/her identity and role in the world

  • Scout, narrator, is six when novel begins
  • Scout has a limited point of view (first person
    limited) and she lacks understanding of how
    things work in the real world
  • The story follows Scout over the course of three
    years as she learns about herself, society, and
    her family
  • Use of past tense signifies that the narrator is
    reflecting back on her childhood.

Themes in TKaM
  • Loss of Innocence
  • Attaining Courage
  • Social Inequality
  • Coexistence of Good Evil
  • Importance of Moral Education