To Kill a Mockingbird Background Information

Report
To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee
Nelle Harper Lee—her life
• Born April 28, 1926, in Monroeville,
Alabama
• Grew up and established a strong
friendship with neighbor, Truman Capote
• Attended Huntingdon College (1944-45)
• Studied law at University of Alabama
(1945-1949)
• Studied for one year at Oxford University
Nelle Harper Lee—her writing
•
•
•
•
To Kill a Mockingbird is her only novel.
Submitted TKAM in 1957; rejected
Spent two and one-half years revising
In 1960, TKAM published to widespread
acclaim.
• Pulitzer Prize—1961
• Movie version won four Academy Awards-1962
TKAM—the novel
• Written during the Civil Rights Movement
• African Americans were fighting for equal
rights.
Major Civil Rights Events
• The Montgomery Bus
Boycott (Rosa Parks):
African Americans
avoided mass transit for
an entire year in protest
of segregation.
Major Civil Rights Events
• The Little
Rock/Central High
School Crisis:
The National Guard was
called in to prevent
African American
students from enrolling in
an all white high school.
Notable Civil Rights Activists
• Martin Luther King
• Malcolm X
TKAM--Setting
• While the novel was
written in the late
1950s, it takes place
in the 1930s when the
segregation sentiment
was high.
TKAM--Setting
• Historically, the novel
takes place around
the time of the Great
Depression, The 1929
Stock Market Crash,
and World War 1.
TKAM—Society at that time…
• A definite class
structure existed
• Upper and middle
class whites lived in
nice neighborhoods.
(The Finch family)
TKAM—Society at that time…
• Lower class whites
lived on the outskirts
of town in rundown
shacks. (The Ewell
and Cunningham
families)
TKAM—Society at that time…
• African Americans
lived even farther
away from civilization.
• Often many
generations shared a
home.
The novel…
• forces the reader to look at strengths and
weaknesses in our society.
• allows the reader to examine prejudice
and intolerance.
• permits the reader to analyze characters
as they move from innocence to maturity
in a realistic historical setting.
Characters
• Scout Finch-- the
protagonist and
narrator
• Semiautobiographical
character
• Lee would have been
the same age as
Scout at the time the
novel took place.
• Lee’s father was a
lawyer like Scout’s
father.
• Lee’s hometown of
Monroeville shares
similarities with
Maycomb.
Characters
• Atticus Finch—Scout’s father (a widower)
• An attorney
• Respected in the community
Other Important Characters
• Jem Finch—Scout’s older brother
• Dill—Scout’s friend who lives with his aunt in the house
next to the Finches during the summer months
• Calpurnia—The Finch’s housekeeper and caretaker of
Scout and Jem
• Boo Radley—a very mysterious neighbor
These are the first characters introduced. Be sure to add to
the character list as reading continues…
What is a mockingbird?
• The Texas state bird,
which does not have its
own song. Instead, it
imitates the songs of
other birds. Killing a
mockingbird is illegal.
• In the novel, the
mockingbird is an
important symbol of
innocence destroyed by
evil.
If you have read this story before…do not spoil it for others who have not read it yet!

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