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!