TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD The Novel BY HARPER LEE Great Depression – 1930’s Began when the stock market crashed in October, 1929 Businesses failed, factories closed – People were out of work – Even people with money suffered because nothing was being produced for sale. people lost their homes, were forced to “live off the land.” Racial Prejudice •Racial prejudice was alive & well. •Although slavery had ended in 1864, old ideas were slow to change. Gender Bias (Prejudice) 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. Poverty Poor, uneducated people who lived on “relief” system. – lowest social class – prejudiced against African Americans –felt the need to “put down” others in order to elevate themselves Legal Issues of the 1930’s which impact the story Women given the vote in 1920 Juries were MALE and Caucasian. “Fair trial” did not include acceptance of a black man’s word against a white man’s Prejudice in the novel Race Gender Handicaps Rich/Poor Age Religion Advantages of First Person Point of View Draws reader/viewer closer into story and character when one who is a part of the story tells it Makes story and narrator believable Interesting combination of Scout as the adult narrator and as the child protagonist Setting The novel is set in Maycomb, Alabama – Maycomb is a small rural community where everyone knows everyone else’s business – the children know everybody in their neighborhood Point of View First person – Story is told by Scout, a 10-year-old girl – Harper Lee is actually a woman; Scout represents the author as a little girl although the story is not strictly autobiographical Reading the Novel Setting is all important –be aware of the “where” and “when” as you begin. Point of View – the novel is shaped by the voice of a young girl who sees the story from a position of naïve acceptance. “Knowledge vs. Ignorance (Evil)” is an important theme. Scout In both the novel and the film, Scout is portrayed as an independent and precocious child. Atticus Atticus, in both the novel and the film, is portrayed as a fair-minded and honest lawyer who strives to make the judicial system work for all people. General Characterization Through vivid description, colorful dialogue, and credible interaction among her characters, Harper Lee creates interesting and believable citizens of Maycomb County.