Southern Gothic - Union Endicott High School

Report
Harper Lee
Born April 28, 1926
About the author
 Grew up in Monroeville, Alabama
 Her father, a lawyer and state legislator, was
a descendant of General Robert E Lee
 Lee was an avid reader and from a young age
wanted to become a writer
More About the Author
 Attended University of Alabama and later
moved to NYC to pursue a writing career
 After two years of writing and revising, To Kill
a Mockingbird was published in 1960
About the novel
 To Kill a Mockingbird was an immediate
success
 Won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961
 Voted best novel of the century by Library
Journal in 1999
More About the Novel
 1991 survey by the Library of Congress asked
readers to rank books that had made a
significant difference in their lives. TKaM
ranked second after the Bible.
 TKaM is the only novel Lee ever published
 For more than 40 years, Lee has declined to
comment on her novel, letting it speak for
itself
Style
 Coming of Age
 Lee chose a form of fiction that explicitly deals
with the main characters growing up and
maturing.
 Language
 Lee employs colloquial language – esp. in the
speech of the characters (dialogue) and in the
descriptions of setting
Style Cont.
 Narration
 Double-layered narration is used.
 The older Scout explicitly tells the story at the
outset of the novel and at its end.
 In the middle, the story is told from the
perspective of Scout as a child.
 However, there are points in the novel where the
two narrators are almost telling the story at the
same time.
Style Cont.
 Symbols
 Lee employs several central symbols in the novel
 Mockingbird
 Snowman
 Mad dog
 Boo Radley
 Clothing – esp. Scout’s clothes
 Buildings
Themes
 Race Relations
 Growing up
 Search for Identity
 America divided
 Justice vs. the Law
 History vs. the
Present
 Conformity vs.
Individuality
 Gender Roles
 Stereotypes Exposed
 Myths of Childhood

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